Friday, March 27

The One Hundred Word Experiment by Jana Richards

One of my goals for 2020 is to write more and be more productive. I have a lot of stories rattling around in my head that I want to get down on paper. So, to that end, I've been experimenting with a method of writing that I've heard about for a while but haven't tried before now. It's very simple -- write at least 100 words a day, every day.

The whole thing is psychological. I tell myself "It's only 100 words. That's a couple of paragraphs, give or take. I can do that."

And for the most part, I've found I can do it, even on busy days when I've been at the day job, and I'm tired when I get home. Or days when non-writing activities take up my time. In the past, I'd wait for a day when I could devote a good part of the day to writing. But those days can be few and far between. I only work part-time, but there's always things that take me away from writing. By saying "It's only 100 words. It won't take long," I can use small chunks of time to move my story forward.

Though there are days when getting those hundred words on paper feels like major brain surgery, the majority of the time I write much more than my mandatory hundred words. I also find it usually doesn't take me very long to write those words. Because I'm in the world of my story every day, the story is fresh in my mind. When I only wrote in large chunks of time, several days might pass between writing sessions. It often took a while to get into the story, and wasted a lot of time.

Like I said, it's all psychological. The other day I got home late and tired. I gave myself permission to take a day off from my 100 words. I even sat down and poured myself a glass of wine. But the idea of breaking my streak bothered me so much that I got up off my butt, powered up my computer and wrote a hundred words. The feeling of accomplishment was immense and totally surprised me.

For a long time, I've talked about writing every day, but I didn't always do it. Oh, I may have written something most days, maybe a blog post or a short story. But I didn't always write everyday on my work in progress. Writing a hundred words a day is moving me forward at a steady pace, and I'm going to keep doing it for as long as I'm able.

To finish my current work in progress, I know I'm going to need days where I write far more than a hundred words. But in-between those days I'll keep the fire burning. One hundred words at a time.


  1. I write every day, but like you said, not always on my WIP. I love the 100-word thing, though!

    1. It's been working for me. It's such a small number that you feel bad if you don't make the effort to meet the goal. So far my experiment has taken me almost (so close!) to the end of my current WIP.

  2. Thanks Nan. I'm the kind of person who has to psych myself out to get stuff done, so it works for me.