Last Thursday, I wrote 289 words. Nothing special about that, except that it was the 365th day in a row that I wrote at least 250 new words of fiction. In that year, I wrote big chunks of two different novels and all or part of 15 or so short stories.

According to Wolfram|Alpha, that’s at least almost half of the Origin of Species.[1]

Why did I do this? The best answer to that, I suppose, is that I started trying to write 250 words every day back in August 2012, but it took me until the following February to not miss a day. I wanted to see if I could write every day for a year. 250 words isn’t much. If I know what I’m writing, it takes less than 10 or 15 minutes.

That’s a big if, though. One of the challenges was what to write when my main project was planning or revision. That’s how I ended up with a big chunk of that second novel–my novel-planning process involves writing lots of snippets. Some of them, most of the early ones, are getting thrown out because they ended not being appropriate for that book. But I’m keeping enough that I had half a draft of the book before I started actually “writing” it.

In that sense it was a success. But I’m not continuing with the challenge. My new goal is to write 100 new *good* words of fiction a day.[2] There weren’t many days where I just blurted out words to check that day off on my calendar, but there were enough. Besides, going with the concept of deliberate practice, it’s quality of effort that counts.

[1] The first time I did that calculation, I left off the units, which gave me this:

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 9.25.24 PM

So, had I written these words at a rate of one a day, while lying on my back outdoors, it is likely that a bird would have pooped in my mouth. Good to know.

[2] That’s for the whole year. Right now I’m finishing that novel so my word count goal is much higher.

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