The Prompter Room

For Sunday, April 3, 2016:


“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”

Vincent van Gogh

Five hundred words a day for 365 days equals 182,500 words, according to the calculator.  I just double-checked and the numbers are right.  That’s a book – a novel, a memoir, a biography, a history of something.  Just a few words a day, a standard notebook page’s worth, for a year.  That’s doable, my friends!

I’ve always been so impressed with the people who have full-time jobs and children who still manage to produce books of any length, sometimes on a regular basis.  Maybe this is how they do it – 500 words after the dishes are done and the children bathed, 500 words before everyone gets up in the morning, 500 words at lunchtime or on the bus or train to and from work …

Everyone has a different process, of course, and different circumstances – my little novella took a year and the total word count is much less than 180k – but when I was able to sit and write, I usually managed at least 500 words each time.  That was my goal.  Sometimes I exceeded it, other times I barely made it, but that was what I strived for.

It may not seem like a lot of words each time, and a year may seem like a long time at the start, but it’s amazing how fast those notebook pages accumulate into something substantial.  When you look back afterwards, I suspect the time will seem like nothing at all.

We all enjoy the impulses of the occasional ‘Eureka’ moment.  They’re exciting, they get us started, but something needs to get us past the initial spark of energy.  Five hundred words a day: a worthy goal that’s worth every minute.

And for anyone who’s counting, 30 minutes/day equals 10, 500 minutes.  That’s not a lot in the grand scheme of things.  Just sayin’ (she tells herself as she prepares to start on the next book …).


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