Personal Development

#500words

“…most adult books are about 90,000 words, and no longer than 100,000 (unless you’re JK Rowling). Teen books are about 55,000 words.”(website)

I don’t have aspirations for writing a book, but I do want to write more frequently because it is an essential life skill. If you can’t articulate your thoughts in writing, when you have time to formulate your thoughts, select the exact words that mean the exact thing you want to say, then you’ve really have no chance of communicating at all.

For better part of my time as a CPA (certified public accountant) in public accounting, I used my writing and reading skills (not very good) more than I did my math skills (which I have none.) I read technical accounting literature, interpreted it, and wrote position memos to support an accounting position. I wrote footnotes that went into SEC filings of public companies. I’ve written memos explaining the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board why a certain audit procedure performed was to standard.

The more I write, the easier it gets to crank out a decent first draft. The more I write, the easier it is to get into the flow of writing but I still don’t do it enough. When I do go on a writing streak, I there is a noticeable difference is the flow of the writing. This doesn’t mean that the writing is any good.

To keep the state of writing flow near and readily accessible, I decided that I should add a daily writing component to my #75hard challenge.

Here’s what I’ve been doing since August 14th: write 500 words per day.

Here are the simple rules I use:

  1. Write 500 words per day.
  2. Any topic is okay.
  3. No editing, unless I catch a typo mid-sentence. The goal is to make progress, not perfect prose.
  4. No research. The focus in on writing, not researching (a deep and endless rabbit hole.) If I don’t have a fact or figure, I’ll put a placeholder like this: [insert fact or figure here].

Let’s do some math. 500 words per day x 365 days per year = 182,800 words.

Adult books have about 90,000 words; therefore, 182,800 divided by 90,000 = 2 books per year; or, 1.8 books if you’re JK Rowling. But, again, forget about books. That’s a lot of words for your blog, movie script, marketing content, thesis, journal, or whatever.

Here’s some technical stuff: I start my writing in the Drafts app which has a nice word count feature. I then push it to Dayone and tag it with “500 Words” for the writings that I want in my journal. I don’t want everything in the journal because some days are just rambling…forcing myself to write 500 words, even if it’s a bunch of nonsense (remember: progress, not perfect prose.)

By the way, the post has exactly 500 words in it so it’s part of my daily #500words.

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