Monday, October 21, 2013

My Daily Writing Goal

It's often heard in writerly circles that writers should aim to pound out at least 1,000 words a day. If you are working on a project, if you expect to lead a writing life, this is a good place to start producing material. It's good advice that has been mocked: write 1,000 words a day and then stop, no matter how you're feeling. But I take a different approach to that perhaps worn-out advice. On the days when it feels like pulling teeth to get something on the page, I tell myself to write at least 1,000 words. And yes, as soon as I finish a sentence that passes that arbitrary mark I just stop. Because some days are like that.

But the point of the exercise is not just to write 1,000 words. If I'm on a roll I could pass that easily and write until I'm not feeling it anymore. It's just that my cycle of inspiration is changeable and 1,000 words is a good start when I feel I'm just not up to the task of writing something original. And even if the work is crap, it's the work of it that counts. Writing, like many things worth doing in life, is a practice.

to facilitate this activity, I've recently come across a program called "Omm Writer". I find it is a sublime little tool for fulfilling the daily writing goal. It blocks out everything else going on in computer town and fills the screen with a simple white background. A nice blank slate with no internets. It also comes with music. Two tracks that are very empty and ambient, one a little more upbeat than the other. There's a third track that's essentially a rhythmic crunching that eventually sounds a bit like a train. Actually that third one is my favourite, having helped me write a very harrowing scene involving something like a robot army.

I've come across a lot of little apps and things that help one focus on writing alone, but I really like Omm Writer for little extras. What do you use to write out 1,000 words a day? Do you use an application or do you prefer the old-fashioned pen and paper route?