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The Candid Cuppa

How to Write 1,000 Words a Day

Begin with an idea and let the words flow like a river.

Photo by João Luccas Oliveira

Full disclaimer — I haven’t written a thousand words since working on my memoir for my MFA program. That was seven years ago. Since that time, I’ve been beset by medical issues, crazy bosses, and the loss of my mother. My life was prose and after losing my mother that part of my creative self shut down.

It’s been four years since my mother passed and the wheels in the prose part of my brain are turning once again. I still have a long way to go, but being on Medium helps. Since writing on Medium, I've increased my output. I currently have over thirty essays written on the platform! Every time I click the Medium website, I find it easier and easier to just write and write.

But back to writing a thousand words a day. In addition to writing on Medium, I’ve been reading a lot of writing articles. Some of them have been informative, helping me understand how to increase my presence on the platform. Others have been entertaining, detailing the trials and tribulations of being a writer. Recently, I’ve come across articles from writers sharing their process of writing a thousand or more words a day.

The closest I’ve come to writing a thousand words was around eight hundred words. My mind runs out of steam at that point. However, if you add up all of the words from all of the pieces I’ve written, I’d definitely be in the five thousand words range — maybe even more. But I have yet to crack one thousand words in a single essay. But it is possible.

How? Start with an idea.

A lot of writers on Medium talk about finding your writing niche. For example, if you’re into guitars, your essays would focus on that instrument. Guitars would be your niche. If you’re into baking cakes, your essays would detail that process. That would be your niche. Basically, anything that you're interested in could be the focus of your writing.

How to get to that one thousand word mark?

Once you have your idea, your niche, do some research. Read other essays about your niche. What has been written and what hasn’t? That’s where your knowledge about the niche comes into play. Your experiences aren’t like everyone else’s. That’s how you can build out your essays.

Once you’ve done the research and combined it with your experiences, you're ready to write. To get to a thousand words, you could do one of three things — 1) an outline,

2) pull quotes from other essays

3) a brain dump

I favor brain dumping. It’s where you just write down everything you know about your niche. It doesn’t have to be nice and neat. It can be lists, sentences, paragraphs, graphs, charts, diagrams, or scribbles. Once you’re done brain dumping, go through what you have and start organizing the information.

As you organize, all of the words, phrases, and sentences will begin to connect. It’s like a puzzle. You’ll see what information needs to go where in your essay. The essay will begin to take shape. The words will begin to flow.

Don’t look at the word count…yet

Once you have a draft of your essay, begin the editing and revision process. Read your essay out loud. How does it sound to you? What’s missing? What needs to be deleted? Cut and trim as necessary. You are creating the final form of the essay.

Once you’ve done a read-through of the essay and revised it, you can now check the word count. Did you make it to one thousand words? If not, are you close? If you haven’t reached that mark, don’t despair. Go through your essay again and see what you can add. Don’t just add in filler. Keep the essay on track. Read through it again and check your research. Go back to your brain dump. Looking through your notes can be a great way to spark ideas. Once you see what needs to be added, write your essay. When you check the word count again, you’ll see that you reached a thousand (or more) words.

You did it! Great job! Now, do it again.

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Shirley Jones Luke

Shirley Jones Luke

Shirley is a poet and writer. Ms. Luke enjoys reading, fashion and travel. She is working on a manuscript of her poems and an essay collection.

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