Note: This is a really LONG post, and it’s the only time I will post something like this. You can read the short version here. Or… jump right in!
Once again, into the breach! I went and pushed Slackermom in the comments to write 2500 words a day, thinking that would keep her busy for a while — and she went and did it. Which means I have to put up or shut up. So here I am writing 2500 words a day again, just like back when I was hoping to be a Freelance Writer and later, when I was actually writing fairly prolifically on my old blog.
It’s a pain in the ass, though. You have to make a considerable amount of time for it in your day, for one thing. You have to get in the habit of typing whatever you’re thinking, which means you have to type a lot faster than you’ve ever typed before, and you will STILL miss some thoughts. But eventually, your typing gts better, or your mind learns to think slower, or maybe you just have a better memory than me, and it all starts to work. There’s a rhythm to it that feels good. I’m remembering that rhythm right now — and pretty pleased that I remember how to spell rhythm, btw — and it makes me happy. I’m not editing my thoughts at all right now, and that’s nice too.
The rule is: 2500 words a day, whatever thoughts come to mind, no editing. That last part is hard for me because I’m a perfectionist. I want every word, every comma, to be perfect. Usually, I can’t go to the next sentence until I’m satisfied with the last one, which shows down the writing process IMMENSELY.Of course, I’m also pleased right now, that perfectionist, anal little part of me is pleased, because I’m convinced that I haven’t made any mistakes yet. Don’t know for sure though, because I’m touch typing and looking out the window at my favorite peppe– bottle brush tree as I write. Which is really nice because I haven’t looked out side much in a long time. I’ve been too focused on the COMPUTER, and the INTENERT, and starting this damn BUSINESS.
My life has not been balanced at all. Not healthy.[353 words – taking a break]
Ahh, that was refreshing. I needed to get my body moving, so I decided to do some yoga, but of course the floor was dirty and I had to vacuum. Actually I had a little epiphany, realizing the reason I don’t do yoga as much as I’d like is because I’m such a bad housekeeper, and I can’t stand doing yoga on a dirty floor.
See? Everything is connected. So, when you’re stuck, go back to the beginning, trace it back, and see what the real obstacle is. For me it’s always, always housekeeping. But that just reflects my OCD nature; I’m a terrible housekeeper but I’m also a perfectionist. Maybe that’s why I’m a terrible housekeeper: if I can’t do it perfectly, I don’t do it all.
If my intention is to do yoga every day, then I need to make sure to vacuum every night. If my intention is to eat a healthy diet, then I need to keep the dishes done on a daily basis. Simple.
Normal people, people who aren’t flakes, know this.[535 words, breaking for breakfast]
You and I missed something along the way. Whether we were born this way, or just didn’t get the message as children, there is a crucial link between intention and getting things done that we don’t have. For me, what’s missing is routines, systems, and tools that will lower the mental barriers to productivity.
That last bit, from 353 words to here, was dictated with Dragon Naturally Speaking [almost wrote Naturally SLEEPING, lol], and took a lot longer than the first section because I found myself constantly going back and correcting, editing, PERFECTING every line. Not good. Drahon really helps me get blog posts out when I’m stuck, but it’s not good for this 2500 Words thing, so it’s back to typing. I still want to perfect and edit, butit’s easier to resist the temptation, for some reason.
That’s unfortunately, because typing is physically much more demanding than dictating. My hands hurt right now…[phone call] [693 words]
Damn, that’s all? I thought it was closer to 1000. That phone call was at least five hours ago, btw. Then I watched a webinar and a video [both excellent, btw] that I could have put off until later. Then I returned a couple of phone calls and took another one, all personal calls. It’s very frustrating to have to break my own habits, but friends’ habits? Fuggedaboudit. But that’s what I’m going to have to do if I want to get anything done on a consistent basis. Time to put up or shut up.
Oh, yes, and I took a little Twitter detour. Where @Slackermomspeak and I decided to start a 2500-word challenge to share the pain with our readers. That’s you!
So here it is: commit to writing 2500 words a day. Doesn’t matter what you write about. You can do a Jack Nicholson and type, “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy,” over and over if you want. Eventually, your creative brain will rebel and you will start writing other things, capturing what’s really going on in that head of yours out of sheer boredom. And before you know it, you’ll have material for a blog post [or two or three], or an ebook, or a whole course — or maybe an actual BOOK. It could happen!
Just do it with us, and we can spur each other on. Comment here, or tweet about your word count with the hashtag #2500wds, so we can congratulate each other on how fantabulous we are.
Write 2500 words a day.
Write about anything that comes to mind.
Comment here or tweet when you’re done with the hashtag #2500wds.
I know, 2500 words sounds like a lot. Well, it is. And at first, it will take a long time to get up to that number. You will want to give up. Don’t. Keep trying. If you don’t make it at first, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just try again tomorrow. But keep trying and really push through the hard part when you absolutely want to stop. Because that’s when the magic starts.
Trust me on this, there is magic in this process. You will find that you can write much more than you ever thought you could, and that you’re a much better writer than you thought you were. You will find nuggets of ideas that will spark even more creativity, and your brain will suddenly realize that the brakes are OFF — and look out then, because amazing things will happen.[1111 words]
Damn, not even halfway. I told you it was hard in the beginning. I haven’t done this in years, so I need to build my writing muscle back up. But think about it. Look at all the really successful blogers out there. They are writing a LOT of stuff, good stuff too. How are you going to match that if you don’t commit to a regular writing practice every day? If you say you’re going to write a blog post a day, that’s not enough because you also need to be creating products for your business so you can make a living at this one day. How are you going to produce all that material? 2500 words a day is how.
Gotta break now and move around. This is hard, physical work. We have to be in shape![1250 words — halfway there!]
Whew, I’m out of breath. Just did a pathetic 52 steps on the stairstepper. Yikes, am I out of shape. But it got the blood pumping and that’s good. Our creative brains need oxygen! Not that I’m being at ALL creative at the moment, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is getting to the 2500 word mark,, and doing it again tomorrow, and again and again. Because we want our brains and fingers to get in the habit of writing. The creativity will take care of itself.
Now, I have to admit that I hav not been able to completely refrain from editing. It’s a hard habit to break. When I know I’ve spelled something wrong or typed something wrong, I backspace a few times to fix it. But I don’t perfect each sentence or paragraph before I go on.
And if 2500 words is too much for you for whatever reason — say you work fulltime and have three kids running around or you have a disability or 2500 words scares the daylights out of you and you know that you would be setting yourself up for failure — just pick a number that you know would be difficult but not impossible to achieve. It could be 2000 words or 1500 or even 500. You know what your limits are. But pick a number that would push those limits just a little.
You want this to be hard, because you need to prove to yourself that you can do hard things.
You need living proof staring you in the face that you can fucking write 2500 words, or whatever number you’ve picked, every day. This isn’t to impress anyone else. This is to impress YOU with your own brilliance, your strength and endurance. Because haven’t YOU been yelling at yourself all your life even louder than all those others you have blamed for making you feel bad about your flakiness? Aren’t you the one you need to impress, so you can get off your fucking back, already?
This will do it for you, I promise. I need it to do it for me. Nothing makes me happier than when I have written something, anything, that expresses how I feel. And if I can help you do that too — wow. Damn, I’m getting all misty now. 🙂[1632 words — getting there!]
This will probably be the longest post I will ever write, but it’s only to show you exactly how it can be done, that it’s hard but not impossible, and that you can do it too. My fingers are tired and aching from typing so much, but they will get stronger because I’m exercising not only my brain and my body but my fingers too.
You may want to write your words out by hand because, if you’re familiar with Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages [remind me if I haven’t yet put the link here], you know she insists that the brain is connected to the hand, and that creativity is triggered by the process of writing by hand. I did Morning Pages for a long time and agree with her, but when I used it for blogging, I got very discouraged with the laborious and time-consuming process of transcribing what I had written every morning. I decided to train my brain to work with the typing process instead and it worked just fine. Your creative brain really doesn’t care how it gets to work out, it just needs exercise. Train it to work with your typing fingers by writing 2500 words a day, no matter what, and you will be astonished how quickly your creativity kicks in.
Of course, if you find that writing by hand works better for you, then by all means, go for it. Don’t let me or anyone else tell you what is best for you. You know better than anyone else. But I would ask you to try the process first before you decide it doesn’t work for you, like I tried Morning Pages by hand. Make sure you know WHY something doesn’t work before you give up on it.
The same goes for anything you want to stop doing. We flakes are known as quitters because we often give up at the first obstacle. It could be that we know instinctively what’s wrong for us before other people figure it out. And a lot of people force themselves to stick with the Wrong Thing because they don’t want to be perceived as quitters. But sometimes, it’s the Right Thing. Sometimes, it’s worth sticking it out. So give it an honest try before you decide it’s not for you, okay? Stay with it, even when it’s hard, and see how you feel on the other side.[2035 words — the home stretch!]
And thank god, because I am getting physically tired at this point. Plus I’m running out of things to say on this subject.
Which reminds me: don’t try to stick to one subject just because that’s what I’m doing. I happen to be interested in this subject, and this is what I WANT to write about right now. You can meander all over the place if you want. Nobody will see this but YOU. And even you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to. 🙂
Write about the subject of your blog/business if you like, or write about your kids, or your dog/cat/husband/mother/friends, or write fiction if that strikes your fancy. Just write. Describe your messy desk, or the sound of the curtains rustling in the breeze, or what you look like in the mirror. Write a dialog of your arguments with your spouse — or yourself, those are always good. Just write.
Then, when you’re done, look back and see what gold you find there. I promise you will find gold and gemstones that you can mine– okay, mixed metaphor, and I was waxing a little too poetic. But you will, really. You will find ideas and fully-fleshed out thoughts that you will be able to translate, and even transfer whole, into whatever you need.
I needed a new direction for this blog, and now I have it because one person took my mention of 2500 words and ran with it. And I felt compelled to keep up with her because it was my freakin’ idea and I was a little embarrassed. So too, you will find what you need in your 2500 words a day. Even in the struggle at the end, like I’m struggling right now. I know I only have a few words to go, but I refuse to check the word count again until this screen is filled up. So, what else can I say that will be at all useful to you? Hmm. I want to end this post with something really inspiring.
Christ. Can’t think of a fucking thing.
But that’s okay, because that’s not the point. The point is the word count. That’s all that matters. Everything else will follow. wonder if I’ve made it to 2500 words yet. Should I check? I’m scared it won’t be and I’ll have to write more. Okay, here goes:[2438 words — FUCK]
Well, there — see? I just added a few more words. And a few more. We can just keep going like this until — crap, this is boring. And embarrassing, because I decided way back up there that I would post this whole thing, jsut to show you it can be done, but I didn’t think it would end so ignominiously–[2502 words — YAY!]
p.s. It took all freakin’ DAY to write this, so be prepared! It will take less time as you go along, I promise. 🙂
Image credit: S_anand