Five hundred words seemed like the right amount. It wasn't an unattainable one thousand words a day. It wasn't fifty words either that I could write without really even thinking. Five hundred words seemed like a good challenge for me without taking over my life or destroying my love of writing, so I went for it, and this is what I learned:
1. Nothing is ever really the same.
I expected patterns. I assumed that on the days when I was excited to write that I would also love what I had written. And I assumed that on the days when I dragged myself to the Word document my mood would affect my writing and it would be terrible.
Sometimes that is exactly what happened, but other days it was the opposite. I also had good days where I hated every word I wrote and bad days where I surprised myself and the words flowed out of my like. There is no easy formula to my writing.
2. I need a reward.
I always tell myself I don't need a reward, but I do. I decided that if I completed this challenge I would buy myself a book, and bought Let Me be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot. I bought before I finished, which kept me going knowing that I had already bought my reward.
3. Writing is a sacrifice.
Some days my family was watching a movie at the end of the day, and I couldn't join them until I had written my five hundred words. There were times when I was very tired and wanted to go to bed but I hadn't finished writing. It was a sacrifice that was sometimes hard, but one that I was willing to take.
4. I either read or write.
Before I began this challenge, I was constantly reading. When I began writing five hundred words a day, I stopped reading. Then when I began swallowing books again like I had been fasting, because in a way I was. I think that because writing a novel is such a large endeavor my brain can only handle one story at a time.
5. I can do it.
This is the most important thing I learned while doing this challenge. I am not like other writers who can whip up ten or fifteen pages a day. I usually can't get five pages out of me a day. But I can set a writing goal and meet it.