I can’t remember when or exactly why I started doing this, but I keep track of how many words I write each day. Part of it was probably that I wrote it on my calendar so I could feel bad if I hadn’t written anything for three or four days. After doing that for some time, I decided to take the advice I’d read countless times in writing magazines (this was probably around 2002) and write every day. At first it was a bit of a struggle and I gave myself a lot of cheat days, but I eventually got into the habit of writing practically every day. (The day I posted this was the 792nd day in a row I had written, which I believe is my current record.)
Now, writing every day is fine, but it also helps if you have a daily goal. The goal I set for myself was 137 words a day. (This will explain why.) For some prolific writers, that is a really low goal. Besides personal reasons for setting it at that, I also set it “low” so that I wouldn’t get discouraged if I missed it. And a lot of things can get in the way of writing: needing to veg after a long day of work, illness, or having 8,000 other things to do.
For a few years I did pretty good, but for the last couple of years my daily output hasn’t been that great. I have written almost every day for a decade or so, but some days it’s just adding a note like “Character A has some centaur food that Character B has never heard of.” That’s it. I’ve been following the letter of “Write every day” but not the spirit.
Part of the reason I wasn’t writing much was because I was being overworked. I got a part time job so I could make some money but still have time to help my parents and write. But it soon turned into one of those 39 hours a week “part time” jobs, which was good because I needed to pay for a new car, but also sucked because it was so stressful I just wanted to veg when I got home. Recently I’ve cut back to just two or three days a week, and now I have time and I’m not as stressed, which is a bit weird.
But another part of the reason I wasn’t writing that much was YouTube. What happened was I found an interesting channel dealing with history. They had some 300 videos, and I started watching all of them. About fifty videos in, they did a collaboration with someone else and I checked their channel out. They were interesting and had some 300 videos of their own. I started watching all of them, and about fifty videos in, they did a collaboration with someone else. It got to the point where I now have a bookmark folder of fifty or so YouTube channels I need to check out. So in addition to all the channels I already followed, I’m working through the backlogs of two or three other channels. While there are a few humorous channels I follow, most concern history, science, literature, etc. I’m not memorizing everything I’m watching, but I’m at least getting exposed to a great deal of stuff. Who knows what little tidbit stuck in my brain will birth a story, or someday help me out of a jam?