100 Days (Or Less) Part Six: Day One

Day One

It is by sitting down to write every morning that one becomes a writer. Those who do not do this remain amateurs.

Gerald Brenan

Writers write in different ways. Some writers write on computers, others on typewriters, or in long-hand. Agatha Christie said that the best time to plan a book is while you’re doing the dishes. It doesn’t matter how you write. What matters is that you write. What you need to do first in these 100 days is create a routine for your writing.

You do this by establishing a specific time to write. This is important because over the course of writing your novel, you will get discouraged, bored, angry, or otherwise fed up, and when you start feeling that way, you’ll need a clearly defined patterns to keep yourself writing.

On occasion you may have to shift your writing times to deal with other demands in your life, but fight to maintain your “writing time.”

What do I mean by specific times?

Two hours of writing each morning and each evening, and one eight-hour day every weekend, for example, is one routine for writing. Thirty minutes early in the day (before sunrise!) is another “writing time’.

You decide how much time you will spend writing, and then keep to that schedule. Many would-be novelists defeat themselves because they set a schedule that they can’t keep. Be realistic in the amount of time you plan to write and follow that plan.

You don’t have to write a lot. Ernest Hemingway would average 50 words a day when the “going was good,” as he would say. Think of writing this way. If you write 250 words a day then in 350 days you will have written 87,000, the length today of an average novel.

Think of it another way: if you even write less than 250 words a day, you’ll find that at the end of 100 days, you will still have written more than you have ever written before. Set a goal for yourself, for example, to write at least four pages a day. That is 300-325 words, double-spaced. Some days you’ll write one page; others you’ll write 15 pages. Try to average at least four pages a day.

Writing trick:  Carry a note pad with you. If you’re waiting for a meeting to begin, start writing. If you’re on an airplane, start writing. If you are waiting for your wife, husband, or the kids…write! Whenever there’s a second to write, do it. A few words, a thought, a sentence or two, all of that counts. Once you have written it down, you own it.

Day One Assignment: Set your time and place to write. Set up your writing studio and over the desk (or on it!) place a calendar so you can pencil in how many words you wrote that day.

Writing Log: Words Written Today_____:


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