writing 1,000 words per day is easily the biggest, most profound improvement. the act of putting words on paper is hand-to-hand combat against resistance.
although you sometimes think, “my brain is empty…” it isn’t. setting a quota that’s a little uncomfortable forces you to uncover new ideas and move existing ones further. not to jinx myself, but i haven’t had a shortage of topics since i began.
the crucial aspect is to keep moving. here’s how i do it:
- i always start out working on an “existing draft,” which means anything transferred from my Moleskine to a Word doc. it could be several sentences or just a few words. but there’s always something waiting for me. this eliminates the “blank page staring back at me” crisis.
- i shift from typing to writing longhand and back. whenever one feels slow i change.
- i work on various posts at once, switching whenever i get stuck.
- i find writing by hand helps words flow faster at the outset, when ideas are fuzziest.
things to keep in mind about writing 1,000 words per day:
- you might miss a day. if a morning appointment throws me off, i worry and get bummed. but i know i’ll make up for it the next day. and as soon as i’m free from interruptions, i’m hemorrhaging words.
- it might seem like it takes forever to accomplish. it doesn’t. time 20-minute writing blocks if you think you’ll get off course or spend too much time. this also gives you a sense of how quickly you write.
- caveat: although the writing doesn’t have to get done in one sitting, the more sustained it is, the better. continuity means you’re pushing yourself to uncover deeper ideas. because even if you pick up precisely where you left off, some momentum is lost.
- the 1,000 words can be about different topics. often, pushing myself to continue writing yields several post ideas. afterward, i create new word docs. for each one. these become the “existing drafts” i mentioned above.
- this process is “only for writers” if you insist it is. where i come from, clear writing means clear thinking. if you don’t need that, don’t bother.
- if you want great material, you need to start with the understanding that most of it will be sub-par. be willing to refine it over time.
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