That’s a lot of words. 1,000,000. I like the audacity of it.
With my daily goal of 1,000 words, it’ll take about 3 years to reach it.
I write in Scrivener, which has a handy word count target window I keep open:
The top bar is my 1,000,000 word goal, the bottom is my daily goal, which resets each day. I like having the visual of the bar. Plus, it changes color! It starts out red, then turns yellow, and finally, as you approach the goal, it turns green.
One Step at a Time
In all honesty, writing a million words doesn’t mean anything by itself. I could write my name a million times (or copy and paste) to get to it. I could write a million words of useless romantic stories or lame copycat stories. And sometimes the words going to that goal are lame. Often, as I’m nearing the 800 or 900 word mark, and I hear my kids wreaking havoc in the next room, I write things like, At 900 words. Can’t think of anything else. Oh, now I’m at 912… Which is totally cheating, but depending on the chaos on the other side of the door–or the lateness of the hour–sometimes it’s necessary.
But most of the words are good. Most improve my writing. Most are bringing me one step closer to being a better writer.
I also have a schedule, of sorts, of what I work on each day. You know how sometimes you sit down to write and your mind is as blank as your screen? For me, having a schedule helps me get started right away. This is my current schedule:
Monday: Study the craft. Take notes. Right now I’m reading Save the Cat! By Blake Snyder
Tuesday: Apply what I learned yesterday.
Wednesday: Write a post for Gadget Science.
Thursday: Study the craft again.
Friday: Write a post for aliciathewriter.com.
Saturday: Freewrite. Whatever I want.
I had to limit my freewriting to once a week. Otherwise, I write whatever I want, painting myself into corners, writing lame stories that have no structure and do not work, and, mostly, just writing cool scenes of stories that will never become anything.
That kind of writing is awesome, don’t get me wrong. I love it. I look forward to Saturdays and freewriting. It’s what has brought me to this stage of my writing: I’ve been freewriting since I was 12. But I’m ready to become a professional writer. And for that, I have to push myself further.