Steve Chatterton
Will Write for Food
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350: Let’s talk about commitment

January 14th, 2016 by Steve


So, 350 words a day. Doesn’t sound like much. And you get weekends off. And in a year you get over 90,000 words. Sounds great, right?

But how much commitment are we talking about? What does 350 words actually look like?

It looks like many things. In a paperback, depending on formatting and style, 350 words will run the length of a page to a page and a half. That’s not that much. You can read that in no time. Piece of cake, right?

I just looked at my first post in this series, and found I could read the whole thing on my laptop without scrolling. This isn’t some gargantuan pile of verbiage we’re talking about. It’s quite small. Bite-sized chunks of witticism, pint-sized truth bombs, and infinitesimal bon mots. It’s almost impossible to express a complete thought in much less. Well, okay, that might be pushing it a little, but you get the picture.

Various factors will affect how soon you can reach your goal. Mental focus, preparedness, level of distraction level, typing speed, etc. You can reach your goal in under half an hour if you go at an average rate of twelve words a minute. That’s not a lot, is it? It’s not the blinding speed of a secretarial professional, perhaps. But keep in mind you’re not just taking dictation; you’re composing. You’re creating something new the world has never seen before. These things take some time.

To get a better idea of just how much time these things take, I timed yesterday’s writing session. In the span of forty-five minutes I managed to get down 554 words. They weren’t all brilliant, and there’s no guessing how many will survive. But they’re there now. That’s all that counts. The thing is, I averaged 12.3 words per minute (wpm). Not too shabby. Especially when you consider the dogs were being a bloody nuisance the whole time. They insisted on going out and coming back in at least half a dozen times. But even with all that to contend with, I surprised myself and had a productive day. Perhaps you’ll surprise yourself, too.

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Posted in On Writing


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