Toward prolificity: a public experiment.

February 4th, 2007

In an effort to hold my own feet to the fire, I’m going to try an experiment: For the next four weeks, I’m going to post daily on the amount I’ve written that day. I don’t expect the numbers to be that impressive, but I’m going to see whether the public record of it helps me maintain consistency. If it’s good enough for Trollope, it’s probably good enough for me.

There has ever been the record before me, and a week passed with an insufficient number of pages has been a blister to my eye, and a month so disgraced would have been a sorrow to my heart.

I have been told that such appliances are beneath the notice of a man of genius. I have never fancied myself to be a man of genius, but had I been so I think I might well have subjected myself to these trammels. Nothing surely is so potent as a law that may not be disobeyed. It has the force of the water drop that hollows the stone. A small daily task, If it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules. It is the tortoise which always catches the hare. The hare has no chance.

Please let me know what you think.


Update, 11 p.m.:  Just because I know you’re dying to know how I did on the first day of this, I’ll tell you that I wrote more than 1,000 words today, most of it after the Superbowl wrapped up.

4 Responses to “Toward prolificity: a public experiment.”

  1. Common Sense » Blog Archive » Writing du jour. Says:

    […] As I nod off at the keyboard, I note that I’ve written 1,100 words today.  (If the word count on my word processor, the total is 1,122, but who needs that level of precision?)  Combined with the 1,000 words I wrote yesterday, that makes 2,100 words total for my little experiment. […]

  2. What I’ve Learned So Far » Blog Archive » The most important advice ever given to writers, Pt. I. Says:

    […] Laudator Temporis Acti: Nulla Dies Sine Linea. Another etymological take on the phrase, related to Gibbs’s treatment noted above. Extra credit because it references Trollope’s Autobiography, which I’ve cited extensively in the past. […]

  3. What I’ve Learned So Far » Blog Archive » If it’s important to you, track it on paper. Says:

    […] Trollope did it to keep up his writing output. Businesspeople do it to keep up with sales, leads, units manufactured, et cetera ad infinitum. I’ve been doing it to track my progress on workouts. […]

  4. What I’ve Learned So Far » Blog Archive » Why I Won’t Participate in That Thing You Were Talking About. Says:

    […] It’s not that I wouldn’t like to take part in your thing. Chances are very good that I would enjoy it immensely. But I have discovered that, like Jon Stewart, my creativity can only find its best expression through highly disciplined processes. Like Anthony Trollope, I have to dedicate a non-negotiable part of each day to my writing (and to my wife, my kids, my job, and my workouts). Like my friend Chris Brogan, I have to “pay myself first” in the form of ample sleep so that I can do my best work. Against my extroverted tendencies, I’m even forcing myself, like Neal Stephenson, to become a (somewhat) bad correspondent. […]

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