“200 crappy words a day.” I don’t who said it, but I’ve seen this quote floating around the interweb on a few occasions.
The idea is that if the person set a small easy goal like “200 crappy words a day” than it would build momentum.
Writing a 1000 words a day seems daunting. So daunting, that the person may never even attempt to try. But “200 crappy words” is more than manageable. After all, they don’t even have to be good words.
When you first start writing resistance will hit you like a ton of bricks. You have all these great ideas, all these things you want to write about. You can even imagine your bank account growing as people buy copy after copy of your short stories.
But now it comes time to actually write. You sit down and all those great ideas fade away. You try to type but words won’t flow. You think to yourself how am I ever going to write my first short if I can’t even muster up one measly paragraph?
You become discouraged. Distracted. Maybe if I just do something else I’ll get a creative spark. The cursor blinks on an empty page. You haven’t written a thing.
You may be thinking how do I know all this?
It’s because your problem is not unique. It happens to every writer. It happens to me. It probably even happened to Ernest fucking Hemingway.
This is called resistance, and it’s something that every writer will continually have to conquer.
When you first start writing resistance is particularly strong. I remember when I first started writing even penning “200 crappy words” was difficult. However, if I was able to push on I would gain momentum.
Maybe the next writing session I was able to pen 500. A week later I could write 1000. A crappy 1000, but still 1000.
It took me three days to write my first erotic short and it was barely 3,000 words long, and it sucked. Two months later I was finishing a 3k short in a day. A year later I was cranking out 5-6 short stories a week with ease.
Then again there are still days when I write that I feel like an armless, legless person with a crayon in my mouth.
I push on. I set small word count goals. If I don’t feel like writing I’ll just trick myself into it. Just sit down and write 200 words I tell myself. Those 200 words usually turn into much more. I gain momentum.
This is how you should approach writing when you’re first starting out or even if you’re a seasoned vet. You need to trick yourself into it. Just remember “200 crappy words.” If that’s too daunting make it 100. Hell, make it 50. Just get your ass in the seat and start typing. 50 words may not seem like much but it adds up. If you sat down and typed just 50 words each day you would have an 18,250 word novella by the end of year.
Start off small. Build momentum. Don’t make unattainable goals for yourself. Don’t think you need to write 5-6 shorts per week. This type of thinking will crush you in the beginning, resistance will get stronger and you’ll give up before you even start.
Always remember, “200 crappy words per day.”