The quote above is the most popular translation of that famous line by the Chinese philosopher, Lao-tzu (604-531 BC), but it applies to many aspects of life – including writing.
About a month ago I made a pact with a fellow member of my writing group, to write 300 words per day (he committed to 350), no matter what. I can do it first thing in the morning, over lunch, or just before going to bed. But they get written, no matter what – despite the day job, family commitments, household work, etc. This is a great motivational tool, because I can easily write 300 words in under an hour, and most days I exceed that target. Either way I win.
The added benefit is being able to see the progress of my work. Day by day, I see my manuscript get longer and I get that much closer to having a finished first draft that I can refine, submit to my group for critiquing, refine some more, and submit. Assuming I meet a daily commitment of 300 words, I will be writing 2,100 words per week, or rougly 9,000 words per month. That’s two decent-sized short stories per month – or, at up to 108,000 words per year, a novel.
All doable, at only 300 words per day. It’s such a small step when you look at it, but over time I can travel far.