Wednesday on Writing: Something is Better than Nothing

Last week, I talked a bit about losing some momentum after a couple weeks of stress and illness. I compared it to a runner who has to build back up to full distance after an injury. That brought me to something we as writers hear a lot (or at least, I do) and that is:

Some words written are better than no words written.

On the surface, this is very true. It is always better to get words on the page than to leave the page blank. After all, if no words ever get written, nothing ever gets finished, and that is not a good thing.

But there is a trap in there, too. You can get caught up in the idea that some is better than none, and never stretch beyond that. Or, you can get a bit lazy and just quit working and give in to some other distraction with the excuse that at least you got something done. We can go back to our runner friend who is back out on the track after their injury, and maybe for a while is content to run a quarter mile because it’s more than they were doing, right? But if they never try to reach past that quarter mile mark, never stretch for the half mile, and the mile, and maybe more, they will never get back to their former pace.

Sure, writing 500 words a day will get you a 50K novel in 100 days, but you can cut that down to a month if you work toward 2000 words a day. (NaNoWriMo, anyone?). 

Everyone has to figure out what their goal should be. 2K might not be doable for everyone, every day. Hey, we all have- or should have- lives outside of writing. Family. Day jobs. The time just may not be there to write thousands of words every day. There are also legitimate times and reasons for not hitting your established goal every single writing session. But you should work toward figuring out what that goal should realistically be and try to hit it most days. It should become a habit just like that runner who just goes out and runs three miles every time because that’s their distance.

Don’t beat yourself up when you fall short. We all do. But try not to fall too deeply into the Some is Better than None trap, either.

Okay, time to write!

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4 thoughts on “Wednesday on Writing: Something is Better than Nothing

  1. Great post. I never thought of it this way, but you are absolutely right. If you just do enough to say “I wrote today” you will never train yourself to write more. Habit is everything. I put myself through NanoWriMo 3 times and now have no problem getting in 1,500-2,000 words a day (thought now I think about it, I rarely push beyond that. Uh-oh!)

    Like

    1. Thank you. 1500-2000 isn’t a bad daily output. I find I can’t do much more than 2000 in one day. My brain gets a bit fried if I push too much. It’s different for everyone. But, yeah, if you know you can go on and let yourself get in the habit of excusing not doing so, you never figure out what that upper limit is.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I still fight it sometimes. It can be hard especially when you don’t have hard goals to meet as an independent author. No editor or publisher breathing down your neck. You have to learn to get tough on yourself. And also when to ease off a bit. We all find our own way.

      Liked by 1 person

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