One Thousand Words — Starting the Habit

My friend Heather has started a blog, One Thousand Words Project, where she is trying to write one thousand words a day (or almost everyday) on a topic or idea. Both of us had seen Matthew Dicks speak at the Books on the Nightstand retreat and he said that to be a writer, you have to write. He said to write everyday. (You can download his talk at the Books on the Nightstand site.) Heather and I decided we both wanted to give this a try. She has been much better about starting this and giving it a whirl. I want to jump in and give it a try. I don’t know how often I’ll do it or if I’ll even stick with it… but I won’t know until I try. I can’t even imagine what one thousand words look like on a document page. I’ve been reading my friend’s posts, but it’s not the same as looking at it (and creating it) in a Word document. I have a feeling I’ll be use the  “word count” tool quite a few times as I go today!

Where to begin? I think I need to start by getting myself into the habit of writing. How come starting good habits is hard and starting bad habits seems so much easier? Why does it take so long for good habits to become second nature and bad habits just creep right into the daily routine? Knowing myself as well as I do, I’ll be very excited at first about completing each one thousand words, but then I’ll lose my excitement and have to dig deep to keep on going. But the school year has come to an end, so I’ll have a bit more time during my day. This seems like a good time to start. I certainly won’t have as many excuses as I do during the school year!

As a teacher, I often feel that the first day of summer vacation is almost like New Year’s day. I rearrange my day to fit in my exercises, reading, house chores. I now can do so many more things in the morning and have more of the day free to do whatever I want. I like that feeling of renewal that summer brings. I do often work during summer vacation (I teach summer school and tutor) but it is not at the same pace as the regular school year. I won’t be bringing home hours of work and I won’t be at school for as many hours either. Sitting on the deck with my morning cup of coffee and writing one thousand words seems like a good way to start the day.

Now for writing ideas… this is where I’m just not sure what to do. I’d love to find some random topic generator to use. I have googled that and there are actually a ton of them. I just need to figure out which one (or ones) has what I’m looking for. I’m hoping to also be able to come up with my own topics… but I want to have back up in case I run out of ideas. I don’t want an excuse to be, “Well, I don’t have a good idea today so I won’t write my one thousand words!” I might need to start writing idea journal, where I can jot down topics as I think of them and hopefully the list will get good and long so I won’t run out! I also like having a reason to buy a writing journal. If anyone has any suggestions for writing topic ideas, feel free to post in the comments or send an e-mail.

My friend, Heather, has been writing some fiction and some nonfiction pieces on her blog. I can’t wait to see what I end up doing. I think when she first started, I was under the assumption it was going to be all fiction, but I really like the mixture (which after reading her first post for a second time I realize she clearly stated she would be doing both, I just didn‘t read it carefully enough the first time). I think she’s having a good time doing it and I know I love reading it. I hope I can make my posts as enjoyable. (Thanks so much if you’ve read this first post to this part!)

I don’t know where I hope this writing project will lead me. I  know I do have an idea for a book that I would love to write. I’d love to write a book (it actually would make a good series) for kids at the end of the first grade reading level But I think these little short term writing pieces are more at my pace right now. Hopefully after I flex my writing muscles I’ll be able to dive in and work on a bigger project.

Does anyone know of any website or books to help you get started in writing? I think like Matthew Dicks said, I just need to sit down and do it. So hopefully I will get a few posts out each week on the blog. On the days I don’t post, I hope to do some other writings either in a journal, my classroom website, or maybe even start working on that story idea.

My goals:
Start a habit of daily writing
Create a list of topic ideas

So my rules for the posts are:
One thousand words on a topic
Post three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday)
I reserve the right to post more if I end up getting this good habit started!

Are you already placing bets on how long I’ll last at this? Will you see two more one thousand word posts or five more? I can’t wait to see how I do. Stay tuned to find out!

A big thanks to Heather for starting this project. I think it’s going to be a fun challenge to work on.

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2 Responses

  1. lol my problem is getting my posts UNDER 1000 words – I’m WAY too longwinded. 😀

    I like the idea of the random idea generator. I’m not sure what to tell you on writing advice in general. I’ve actually never read any of those kinds of books…

  2. Yay, Nan. I can’t wait to read all your posts!

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