Word count — if you’ve ever written an article for pay or a sweeping work of epic fiction, you’re probably obsessed with them. In fact, if you’re a writer, you know that counting words is a great way to keep track of what you’ve accomplished and motivate yourself to do more.
Which brings me to the next point: How can you get your word counts up there in the stratosphere or at least get some consistency to your writing flow? I’ve got the answer. I give you (insert fanfare here): The Morning Dump.
Like any good writer, I take one at least once a day, excepting holidays and birthdays, of course. And no, I’m not talking about bodily functions, unless you’re counting using your brain. It’s a fastest, most fun and easy way to get those words on a page that I know, and I’m going to share it with you here. Ready?
Step One: Strive to Be Regular
You have to commit to making this a ritual, just as you would the, er, other kind of dump. Decide when you’re going to fit it in your morning schedule; right after you wake up (yes, Virginia, you can do this in bed!), after breakfast, after a workout, before you open your email? The choices are endless and you can pick whatever time slot works best for you.
Step Two: Choose Your Throne
Pick a place that will be your “dumping ground”. You can work at a desk, a dining table, in bed with a lap desk, in the garden at a picnic table or at your local coffee shop. Just choose somewhere you feel uplifted and invigorated. Just like Pavlov taught his dogs to salivate when they heard a bell ring, having a special spot to practice will encourage those words to start pouring out whenever you get into place.
Step Three: Don’t Push Too Hard
Don’t try to force inspiration if it doesn’t seem to be flowing. Just write about anything. You can even write about how difficult it is to increase your word count! The action of putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) will get the gears cranking and before you know it, you’ll have plenty of words to work with. Don’t worry about how your writing sounds, either. Get it out of your head and on to the page!
Step Four: Chart Your Progress
As with any goal, it’s critical to keep track of your progress so you can make tweaks and changes if you need to or you can celebrate your freaking heart out because you’ve far exceeded your expectations. Let me show you how darned easy it is to be in a celebratory mood using this method. Say you’ve set a daily word count quota of 500 words. That’s not very many, right? You could write 500 words in about 30 minutes, even on a slow day, right? Okay, so say you’ve met your quota for 30 days. That’s correct, just one month. Guess what? You’ve written a total of 15,000 words. That’s 1/4 of a novel! In just 30 minutes a day! Woohoo! Time to break out the party horns and confetti!
I challenge you to be a regular morning dumper! Set your goal, give it a month, and let me know how it goes. I’m excited to hear how well you’re doing!
See you on the next page!
P.S. If you don’t want to use your usual word processing software to keep count, here are a few free tools to check out:
And OMG! I love this one. If you’re a Mac user you HAVE to check this out!
It can help you track your word count across many platforms to show you where, when, and how you are most productive! I’ll be writing more on this great little tool next week!