May 30, 2012

Small changes, consistency, and big results

Guest Blogger: Terri Main
Photo by Kriss Szkurlatowski
I know many writers, myself included, often put ourselves down for small word counts at the end of a day. But those small numbers add up. Here are a few to think about.
  • 100 words a day = 36,500 words in a year. That's half a novel or 10 short stories for writing less than half a page a day (double spaced).
  • 200 words a day = 73,000 words in a year. That's a full novel or 20 short stories writing a little less than a page a day.
  • 250 words a day = 91,250 words in a year. Writing just one page a day gives you a novel and a novella or close to two novels or 30 short stories.
  • 500 words a day = 180,500 words in a year. That's close to three novels or 60 short stories or 6-7 novellas. That's two double spaced pages a day.
  • 750 words a day = 271,750 words in a year. That's about four novels or 90 short stories or 10 novellas writing three pages a day.
  • 1,000 words a day = 365,000 words in a year. That's 5-6 novels, 100 short stories or 12 novellas writing just four pages a day.

It doesn't take a lot of words per day, it just takes some consistency.

I knew a psychologist who had been a Navy commander. One day he showed me a map and marked New York City on one side and the west coast of England on the other.

"If I set course from New York to this place on the British Coast and change it by just one degree..." He paused and took out a protractor to measure off one degree and drew a line. "I end up in northern Africa. Small changes maintained over the long run make a huge difference."

The same goes for small increases in our writing output. Just because you can't write 2,000 words today doesn't mean you should forgo writing. Even a hundred words adds to your total.

Creative Calisthenics

Terri Main is the author of Creative Calisthenics: The Ultimate Workout for the Writers imagination. Visit her online:, or follow @terrimain on Twitter, where she gives daily "minidevotions" and periodic writing tips.

1 comment:

  1. Terri, you are so right. Business researchers Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer call this "The Power of Small Wins."

    Celebrate your small wins, folks. They get you where you are going.