They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit.
I’m giving myself 100.
Well, not actually. The truth is I’m on day eight (it’ll be day nine by the time this post is published), and I’ve simply forced the pattern into place. This approach seems to be working so far. My current word count stands at 8,069 – that’s 69 words more than my target.
I’m writing 1,000 words a day for 100 days.
At least that’s the plan. I’m not great at math (I always preferred English), but even I can figure out that this leaves me with a grand total of 100,000 words (and no, I didn’t use a calculator).
I can’t promise those words will amount to anything extraordinary at the end of this. In fact, I believe they will be far from. But I am hopeful they will hold some promise, even if it’s simply in the form of a skeleton from which my first novel is eventually born.
For Christmas this year my husband gave me the best kind of gift you can give a writer: inspiration. It came in the form of bounded pages filled with words by Stephen King. But this is no horror story. No, it is much different than that. This book holds King’s best-kept secrets on writing – minus the “secret” part, as they are now published in print for the entire world to read.
King shares many bits of wisdom that resonate with me as I tackle the early days of this challenge. In one part of the book, he compares the act of writing (and reading) to telepathy. I’m writing this on my MacBook, which is placed atop the corner desk in my home office. I plan to publish it tomorrow, which means you’ll be reading it in the future, from a completely different location, perhaps even a different country.
How fascinating is that?
While King is an incredible storyteller with what some may call a farfetched imagination, he is also a practical man. In his book, he offers the blunt advice all writers need to hear:
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
After reading this, I realized something. Even if after 100 days, I produce a 400-page book that remains forever hidden on an external hard drive in the bottom of a drawer (let’s hope it doesn’t come to this), at least I developed this new habit of getting up (or sitting down, frankly) and going to work.
If I can do it for the next 100 92 days, what’s stopping me from doing it for another 100 days after that? I guess the next question is: how many 100-days-of-writing challenges does it take to write a novel?
I’m hoping just one.
Along with many days of editing and re-writing, of course.
I’ll keep you posted on that though.
Are you trying something new in 2015? How are you progressing so far? Let me know in the comments below.