Thursday, September 2, 2010

500 words a night - can you do it?

I think I may have finally found a way to kick my ever-present writing procrastination, and it's pretty simple - 500 words a night.

I'd love to take credit for it, but I can't. If it were up to me, I'd be up to my old tricks. I'd sit at the computer, determined to finish my chapter or story or essay. But then I'd answer some e-mail. And log onto Facebook. Then maybe I'd check into Twitter - just for a few minutes, I swear. But of course, by then, I'd be a little tired, or maybe somewhat restless. I could put off writing for another night, right?

Sure. Until those nights turned into weeks, or worse yet, months. Left untreated, procrastination is a nasty little habit.

Luckily, I have a friend in Sara Bennett Wealer. Wealer is a former reporter turned YA author whose first novel, "Rival," published by HarperTeen, is coming out in February and has already been creating quite a buzz. But Wealer's not resting on her laurels. She's already working on another book, writing 500 words a night whether the muse moves her or not. "Finishing a novel," she told me, "is sometimes akin to an endurance sport."

Don't let that pretty face fool you - Wealer is a dynamo. Her path to publishing is detailed on her Web site,, and believe me, that book contract didn't just fall into her lap.

So I figured she knew a little something about perseverance. And after all, how hard could 500 words be? Not hard at all, it turns out. Or really hard. It just depends on the night. But setting that goal, and keeping that goal, seems to make all the difference in the world to me.

Maybe it's all those years of working on deadline.


  1. Heya! I'm glad it's working! I've found 500 words is really manageable. If you feel like you're writing crap, just let yourself write 500 words of crap - sometimes I literally check my word count every other paragraph to see if I'm close to being able to stop. Other nights, I'm like, "Whoops! I just wrote 1500 words! That was easy! I rock!" You'll be amazed how quickly those 500 word spurts add up!

  2. That seems manageable to me. I'm very good at procrastinating. Other times, I might write 5,000 words (after weeks of that thing called procrastination).

    What was Sara's publishing journey? How many queries did it take? How many months/years before she landed a contract? Does she have an agent? I'd love to know!

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hey, Beth! It's hard to picture you as a procrastinator - you are always working on something creative!!

    Sara is really funny and cool - she tells about her complete publishing journey, tears and all, on her site at

    Talk to you soon, Diane