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books_fer_head_cropWe writers have often been told in one form or another that we must “Write Something Every Day!” But how much is enough?

Erle Stanley Gardner, Anne Rice, Frederick Forsyth, and Arthur Conan Doyle all recorded they had personal goals of 3000 words a day. Ouch – my Inadequacy Meter is spiking.

Stephen King, in his seminal work “On Writing,” claims he works toward 2000 words a day. For beginning writers, the master recommends a saner milestone, on the order of 1000.all_work

Ernest Hemingway had a goal of 500. Since he was a notorious minimalist, one wonders how his goal would apply to more prosaic authors?

Speaking of loquaciousness, the word-count prize goes to the granddaddy of verbosity, Anthony Trollope. He claimed a goal of 250 words every quarter hour. That’s 8000 words for a typical 9-to-5’er. Yikes!

Add to the mix these numbers do not consider the quality of writing. Is that 1000 words of literary gold, or gibbering drivel? Arthur Hailey confessed his aim was 600 “finished words, not ‘almost right’ words.” Again, King in “On Writing” openly admits that his goals are for first drafts, which are honed down after rounds of solid editing. But that’s fine — the primary point is to simply write.

More modern tech-savvy authors, like Kristen Lamb, advise that it’s valid to include your blog in your daily word count. She points to the craft of blogging as an excellent tool to hone one’s writing skills.

So there’s hope for me yet. Why, this blog already gets me to 250!