40,000 Words In 42 Days

If you want to write a book you can be encouraged by this: the median length of a book is between 64,000 and 65,000 words. I found the article that points that out here. Interestingly enough, “Brave New World” is right in the middle at 64,531 words.

At the rate I’m going in this blog, AOO, I can reach the same word count as “Brave New World” in 76 days. The next trick will be writing not just what comes out of my head, but stringing all those words together in a logical semblance of a story. I am very sincere here. This discipline is helping me immensely.

If you are just tuning in, I’ve been doing something that resembles Julia Cameron’s morning pages exercise for 42 days. Not exactly every day. I wrote 30 days in a row and then was spotty for about 5 or 6 days and now I’m in the first weeks of another 30 days. I’ve also been increasing the average number of words written in each session a little bit at a time.

I honestly believe that what is the biggest obstacle to doing this is the possibility or even likelihood that you will judge your efforts harshly. In fact, Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” points out that you should not be judging yourself at all in this exercise.

Tonight after I finish my 1100 or so words I will then go to my new private blog and write more about a story that has been in my head for years.

Some of you reading this may have no trouble writing at all during the normal course of your day, week or month. That’s wonderful. Really. BUT, if you ever run into a block I highly recommend Julia Cameron’s book. You can also visit my blog posts here starting February 23rd, 2012 to see examples of what morning pages can look like.

I told my wife’s sister’s mother-in-law today that I had written 40,000 words and that I’m ready to write a novel. She was impressed and wished me luck in getting published.

After I get my first draft done I will certainly be open to criticism. I do believe I will get published. My goal is this year by December 30th.

It’s interesting how some folks in older generations don’t realize how their comments can be perceived as negative. I’m not letting her response get me down, but I don’t think she even realized that her good luck sounded pretty pessimistic. And I don’t think I took it wrong. Many people want to protect us from disappointment and think that if we stay “realistic” we won’t set ourselves up for that disappointment.

It’s important to look for the connections and resources you need to get you to the next level in your project – whatever it is.

Don’t focus on the advice of people who have never done what you are attempting to do or are in the process of doing.

Some others reading this are wondering how you could write 40,000 words anytime soon. One step at a time. One day at a time. One keystroke at a time. (Actually, if you’re a pretty good typist like me then you can probably pound out 60 words a minute or more.)

If you’ve been stuck or hesitating, remember this: WordPress is FREE in this format. You just go to WordPress.com and sign up for a blog.

You can write in Visual or HTML and I write in HTML because I know a tiny bit of code that lets me easily insert links like the one in the second sentence above. Visual is the same as “what you see is what you get” or WYSIWYG (Whizzy-wig). If you’ve seen those seven letters before and wondered what they meant, now you know.

I like very much that WordPress automatically saves my writing every so often and if you read my post the other day you know that even if it somehow logs you out you can log back in and then hit the back button to the page where you were typing and it should still be there.

So for me that means that everything that I have ever written with WordPress has not been lost. Unless I wanted it to be.

For me that has eliminated one of the most discouraging and frustrating things about working with computers and the internet – losing your work. Never happened to me fully with WordPress.

If you’ve been procrastinating and part of it was because you didn’t know exactly where to start, get started with WordPress right now. Really! You can go start a WordPress blog right this moment and come back and read this later. Go ahead. It’s ok. This will be right here when you get back. That goes for you writers who have written successfully, too. If you are stuck right now or if you ever get stuck. Start the WordPress blog now and when you need it, it will be there. If you don’t want it to be public for whatever reason, just make sure you check the private button when you create it. That’s what I did when I created this new one: TheNewWrittenWord.Wordpress.com. Nice humble title, eh? 😉

That’s where I’ll be writing next today and hopefully every day that I write here. These exercises here on AOO are for me to get the foam or the head off of the beer. I kind of like that image which I got from a philosophy professor not quite 30 years ago.

These morning pages are supposed to get you flowing. That’s another reason why you want to leave the judgement out of it. It gets in the way of your flow! You want to get to writing, writing and writing some more. Exercise those writing muscles.

I’ve even noticed a little bit of my style developing in just over a month. And I’m getting better at letting it flow. You will, too, if you give yourself a chance.

AND, if you are not a writer and you want to expand your creativity or exercise your creative muscles, morning pages are a great way to do it. However you want to be creative, start with this.

And if you don’t think of yourself as creative but would like to see if you can get there, do morning pages. Just remember that it’s ok if you don’t start out like Mark Twain. I’m guessing that no one would. And most of us will never be Mark Twain. And that’s ok. You want to be the best you. Right along the lines of Oprah telling us to “live your best life.” We can. We need practice.

We need to be humble enough to realize that there is room for improvement in what we do or whatever we want to do.

Are you ready to achieve more? I know I am. Finally!

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