Immediately the critical beast in me reared its ugly head. If the writer’s work was anything like the title he had given his topic, he would do well to stick to 500 words and read his work before submitting. Had he not meant to say “1,000 Per Day – How many words do you write per day?”
Somehow he made writing sound like a competition. If he can write 1,000 words a day, and someone else only manages 300 or 700 per day, does that make him the winner? In my opinion, less is more.
Years ago I had a friend, Nadia (not her real name), who took a three year writing course and shared a few of her experiences with me. One of the class exercises was to write a sentence of about twenty five words. Then the teacher would ask his students to take away one word and reconstruct the sentence. Next they had to take away two words and rewrite the sentence again. Finally they had to take away three words and repeat the exercise. His aim was to do away with fluff.
During another exercise he would ask his students the opposite. Write a sentence of just ten words and add words to make the sentence more descriptive.
His point was, sometimes you have to stick to the bare bones of what you are trying to say, while other times it’s acceptable, if not recommended, to be more colorful. Up to the writer to know the difference.
Nadia, ever the A+ student, diligently worked on her craft. While she used to write from the heart, she now painstakingly went over each and every sentence, perfecting it as she went along.
There was no way she could write 1,000 words per day. Some days she barely managed 100. She told me that sometimes she would slave over a sentence until nausea took over.
In the process she lost her zest for writing. She could no longer accept mediocre scribbling and put her creativity to bed. It took years for Nadia to recover from her quest for perfection, but when she eventually did put pen to paper again, she produced something that took first prize in a national writing competition and was published in the country’s most prestigious magazine.
How many words do I write per day? I used to be able to write between 500 to 2,000 a day, but not every day.
Sometimes I would rewrite sentences or paragraphs, or do away with a chapter and start from scratch.
Nowadays I don’t write anymore. My muse is on an extended vacation.