Saturday, March 7, 2009

1,000,000 Words: A Challenge

I was reading my parents' Bottom Line Personal magazine yesterday, and there was a small article about how mastering most anything takes about 10,000 hours of practice and doing before the brain cognitively assimilates the task. This article made me remember something I've read in a couple places in the past few years regarding this topic and writing: Some universal wisdom in the fiction writing world apparently got together and decided that the one million word mark is the point at which one finally masters his or her craft. Now, one million words is an awful lot. It's a little less than the entire Harry Potter series, which took Ms. Rowling a decade to write (granted she probably wrote a lot more than a million words in the process).

But you've got to start in pieces. So I'm posing two things: a question and a challenge.

First, how many words of fiction do you think you've written so far, in your lifetime? Just a rough estimate. I'd guess I'm probably right around 110,000.

Second, I challenge you to add at least 100,000 words to your total before the year is out. Counting today, there are exactly 300 days left in 2009, which leaves only a little over 300 words a day on average. That's only a page in Times New Roman font. That would put me personally over 200k, and I'd be pretty stoked with that. One fifth of the way towards mastery.

Anyone up for the challenge?


Christy Raedeke said...

I, sir, will accept your challenge! Greta idea. We all need more challenges and goals!

Christy Raedeke said...

In addition to being a "greta" idea as I mentioned above, I also think it's a great idea.

Katie said...

Oh I'm there! Bring it!!!

Tyler said...


Casey said...

You got me curious, so I just did a tally of my larger pieces of writing.

It came to roughly 513k.

Considering all the other, smaller starts I have and all the other general writing I've done...

I think I'm well on my way.

: )

And, I accept your challenge!

Tyler said...

Wow, Casey, that's a pretty impressive little word count. Add Marprilwrimo's totals after this month and you'll be well on your way to breaking 600k. Very nice.