My 500-Words a Day Pledge and How It's Going

Thursday, July 12, 2018
By the title of this post, you can pretty much tell (hopefully!) what this content is going to contain. So backstory...I wasn't working on my novel. It was so infrequent that when I did sit down to work on it, about once a month when I needed something for critique group, I couldn't remember the characters or what I wrote last. One day, I thought: How hard would it be to write 500 words a day?

I'm a pretty fast writer, and if I'm not editing myself while writing, then maybe I could actually accomplish this. So on my blog, in public, and broadcasted on social media, I made this pledge, which you can read here: I will write 500 words a day. I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you how it's going and what I'm learning.

Right away, I will confess I'm not writing 500 words a day. (Bows head in shame) BUT, I am writing much more than I was, and am currently almost to 28,000 words as of this post writing. I love my story. I'm excited to work on my book, and I'm writing things I never even dreamed of. The story and the characters are taking over, and the book is exploring themes and characters who I think readers will relate to. (Let's hope!)

What I've been able to do since making the pledge is write somewhere between 1000 and 3000 words a week. That's close to 500 words a day, and some weeks, like this one when I had a writing retreat with my critique group and a light week at my day job, I have really been able to make good progress.

Before reading a lot about productivity and writing for busy moms, I thought writers really did have to have hours a day to dedicate to writing novels. But many of us WOW! readers and writers, and also many writers and bloggers around the Internet, swear that setting an easy goal (500 words a day, 20 minutes a day, etc) can get the job done. And I agree.

Consistency is the key here. Because I'm finally writing often and regularly, I don't have to reread my entire story or even what I wrote the session before when I sit down to work because it is all fresh in my mind. Another thing I'm doing is before I stop a writing session for the day, I write a short paragraph about what I'm going to conquer next in the plot before I stop for the day. This works great because when I open the document to continue writing, I instantly remember where I was going with the book and what I had planned to work on that next session.

If you're finding yourself not writing this summer because of kids being home, vacations, visiting relatives, or late nights out, then try this method. It doesn't have to be 500 words--maybe it's only 300 or 10 minutes, but I really believe that if you set a small goal to work on your WIP, you will do it, and  you will feel accomplished.

Margo L. Dill is a writing coach and WOW! instructor, as well as a writer and freelance editor. You can enroll in her novel writing coach that starts the first Friday of every month by going here. She is also offering  a marketing class starting this fall. Find out more about her at

Typewriter photo above by alexkerhead on


Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--I agree. Setting small goals, not kicking yourself if you stumble, and realizing that lots of small steps strung together eventually leads to a big gain is important.

What's your WIP about? Can yo give us a teaser?

And thanks for the advice about writing a paragraph guiding you in regards to what you'll tackle when you write next. I try to end a writing session while I'm still in the middle of the scene, but not always, so the paragraph idea could be something else I rely on.

Good luck, and keep at that story--whether it's 300 words a day or 500...

Margo Dill said...

Thanks, Sioux!

This is a novel for adult readers. The main character has had an on-again, off-again relationship with a narcissist and her sister is an alcoholic. So, she is navigating her life, trying to figure out who she is besides being defined by these two relationships. Women's fiction, I hope. Told in 3 different time periods. I hope. LOL

Angela Mackintosh said...

Margo ~ I love this goal! I totally agree with you about writing every day, especially if you're working on a book length project. Writing consistently feels amazing, doesn't it?

Your novel sounds totally up my alley, and I would love to read it! The idea of three different time periods is great, and when the characters take over, you know you have a strong story. I'm excited for you!

Cathy C. Hall said...

Slow and steady wins the race, Margo! Um...not that it IS a race, but you know what I mean. :-)

(Also, I believe in setting achievable goals, too. I mean, what's the point of setting goals you can't possibly make? You end up feeling crummy about yourself. Whereas when you set an attainable goal and you meet it, you feel brilliant! And before you know it, you're surpassing your goals every day! Keep at it, Margo, it sounds intriguing!)

Margo Dill said...

Thanks, Cathy and Ang. :) I appreciate your support. And totally agree with setting achievable goals!

Renee Roberson said...

This is so important and something I've been doing since last fall, which I believe has helped me crank out some good revisions on my manuscript and a few great short stories! I feel like I'm writing a little more since I took a full-time (30-32 hours) job because I know my writing time is that much more previous.

I also joined an accountability group that has been so helpful in keeping me on track! We post a goal each week, and sometimes I stray from my manuscript and work on an essay or short story, but at least for the most part I'm working on a certain project each week. And I agree, working consistently helps you remember what was going in the chapter before without having to reread things a zillion times before writing! Keep it up!

Mary Horner said...

Thanks for the great post, Margo. I love this idea, and have been writing more lately but not every day, so need to work on that. Your plot sounds interesting and I would love to read it when you are finished! Keep up the good work, you have inspired me.

Alicya Perreault said...

I totally agree with you. I was able to finish writing my book by committing to a one hour a day writing goal.
Thanks for the reminder.

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