As you read these numbers, imagine the writing life of each writer . . .

DAY 5 / Thursday = 85 Days Left in the Challenge

Read the series of numbers below, which represents daily word count totals, over a two-week period, beginning Sunday, January 1, when the 85K Writing Challenge began. As you read the numbers, imagine the writing life of each writer . . .

Writer #1
1000, 1000, 1000, 1000, 1000, 1000, 1000, 1000, 1000, 1000, 1000, 1000, 1000, 1000.

Writer #2
0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 3500, 4500, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 2800, 3200.

Writer #3
3200, 3600, 3400, 3800, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0.

Writer #4
1200, 800, 900, 1100, 900, 1100, 200, 1800, 200, 1800, 1000, 1000, 500, 1500.

What do they all have in common? They all reached 14,000 words over a 14-day period. If they repeat these patterns, all four writers will write 85,000 words in 90 days.

But why do their word count patterns look so different? What do these word count patterns infer about the writing life of each writer? Did one of the writers get sick for a few days? Have trouble getting started in the New Year? Maybe one of the writers has a demanding day job. Did one of the writers spend time away from their words and instead spend time with their outline? Is one of the writers a pantser that followed a story trail, but then lost his or her way and doesn’t know how to get back into the story, so instead, he or she has simply stopped writing? Which writer makes adjustments in their word counts based on the preceding day’s output? Which writer could push their output just a wee bit more? Could all of the writers push their output just a wee bit more?

There are countless reasons why the word count patterns are different. And each writer arrived at their 14th-day destination with the same number of total words – 14,000. Each writer is on track to completing the 85K Writing Challenge with 85,000 words by March 31. But are certain writers establishing more of a daily writing habit? Or do all writers have their reasons and their rhythms?

What is the value in keeping track of daily word counts?

I argue that no one writer is “correct” in their method because every writer is as unique as the story they are writing. We all lead very different lives. But I do argue that each writer can improve at least one aspect of their writing productivity. What aspect should Writer #1, Writer #2, Writer #3, and Writer #4 improve?



Not a member of this site? Join the 85K Writing Challenge. It’s free. Writers registered for the 85K Writing Challenge have complete access to all of the features of this site.

Assignment to complete between now and Monday:
There’s a question about these word track patterns waiting for you in the Forum. Go to: “Forum > Write > Daily Open Chat” to join the discussion.

Two reminders for tomorrow . . .

DUE: Friday Word Count Reports. Go to “Forum > Write > Friday Word Count Reports” to report total words written Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week. Report your words even if your word count total is: zero words written. The act of checking in is an important part of forming a writing habit.

85konlinechat-715x400(Optional) 85K Coffee Break Field Trip – Tomorrow – Friday, January 6, 2017 at 5 a.m. At 5:00 am – wherever you are in the world, whatever time zone, show up at 5 am on Twitter. Join other writers using the #5amwritersclub hashtag Tweet while writing your novel, using both the #5amwritersclub and #85K90 hashtags.

Try it. Why not?

[This blog post? 592 of 3,571 total blog post words.]

Julie Valerie

Julie Valerie

85K Writing Challenge: Embracing the writing life by advancing the practice of productive writing from first word to first reader.

One thought on “As you read these numbers, imagine the writing life of each writer . . .

  1. I’ve heard the advice “write every day” more than once; that doesn’t work for me but I absolutely agree it’s important to establish a pattern, a habit, and an expectation that certain blocks of time are writing time. For many of us, a weekly schedule is a chunk of time which repeats, and I think that’s the unit which makes most sense for me. And yes, no-one should feel dismay if their word count pattern appears very different from another writer’s.

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