One Hundred Thousand Words

I was doing a bit of cleanup on the column today – totaling up invoices, updating spreadsheets, all the not-fun writing stuff a writer needs to get paid – when I came to an interesting realization.

As of last week’s column, I’ve written over 100,000 words in a paid publication.  And even more astounding than that – 84,500 of those words have been in Critical Intel, which I’ve only been writing for ten months.  If that rate continues, than by the time CritIntel hits its one year anniversary I’ll have written over 100,000 words in just that one column.

Damn, that’s a lot of words.  That’s the equivalent of writing a 360 page novel in ten months – and I worked 40 hours a week most of this year.

Had you asked me last year if that was even possible I’d probably have said no.  When I started the column I genuinely didn’t know if I’d make it through the first three months, not to mention the first year.  Sure, there was the excitement of having my own space in a magazine every week, but there were the doubts too.  What if I got tired of it?  What if I ran out of material?  What if my work schedule and my life got too crazy?

But I never got tired of it.  Never needed to worry about running out of prompts.  And even though my life got way crazier than I could’ve ever imagined – when I started the column I had no idea that I’d get married and move to Hong Kong inside a year – I’ve only missed a single week, and that was for my wedding.

All I needed was a target – to have an endgame every week where I had to turn in a piece of writing no matter what.  It got my lazy ass in gear, forcing me to write 1,500-2,900 publishable words a week, rain or shine.  And here I am, almost at the top of a mountain that felt insurmountable only ten months ago.

Turns out mountains aren’t so high when you climb them one cliff at a time.

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