The 100 in 100

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Without putting my head in it every single day, it would take me so long to get back into the thinking around my current novel manuscript that I needed long windows of time to make any progress.

The answer: Write fiction. Every day.

Well, sure. Yet to make significant progress—to write an entire scene, say, if not a full chapter or section—I need an hour and probably more. Someday, perhaps, I’ll have the luxury of working on fiction for hours every day. But not today.

So then what? Take fiction-focused vacations? I’d love that—and plan to do them. Yet a few long weekends a year do not a novel manuscript make.

Cue my friend Joan, who mentioned an initiative kicked off by another friend of hers. The idea: To write one hundred words on your main fiction project each day for one hundred consecutive days.

If you get down more than one hundred words in a session, consider them a bonus. They don’t add up to “credit” for days ahead. Extra words don’t provide extra credit in any fashion, in fact, because the exercise’s goal comes from keeping you enough in your story to eliminate the otherwise-necessary long period of reacclamation.

Many days—especially busy days and tired days, and I’ve had many of these lately—I’ve managed barely the quota before I had to put away my manuscript. Yet on other days, I’ve put down a considerable amount more than just one hundred words.

And when I do have a blissful hour to write on my fiction, I write far more than I would have written in the same amount of time.

As I write this, I’ve only managed a couple dozen consecutive days of fiction writing. One hundred days doesn’t seem so long from the outside. I feel impressed that I’ve written at least one hundred words of fiction for so many days in a row, despite all I have happening elsewhere in my life—and completely daunted that I have so many more consecutive days to go.

But if you give me a target—or I give myself a target—I’ll aim to hit it. And I most certainly don’t want to start over on my one hundred days.

So I’ll keep plugging.