I’m going for a MilwordY

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I love a good challenge. Especially if it’s an incentive to fix a problem I’ve been having. Well, a few problems.

So I’m going to go for it. I’m going to do a Milwordy. 

You can be forgiven for not knowing what that is, as I didn’t know less than a week ago. It’s pretty simple.

Write one million words in a year. 

That sounded easy until I broke it down and realized that was over 3,000 words a day, assuming I took occasional days off.

Okay, now it sounds a little insane, right? But I think I can do it. The rules, when you look at them, are generous. Here they are.

All writing counts

This isn’t all going to be publishable content. I hope this will be more books, short stories, blog posts, poems and other fun content that I love sharing with you. But it will also be journaling, brainstorming, stupid things I jot down because they’re in my head. Writing about that weird dream I had about being locked in a bathroom. Angry letters I write to politicians. Any time I put words on the page, it counts.

Edited words count too

I don’t mean like a quick grammar check. I mean like when I’m writing the third draft of a novel and I’m going through every single damned word with a red pen. Those edited pages count. 

So, why am I doing this? Because I’m feeling like I’m not doing enough writing. I know, that sounds crazy. But I’m not writing beyond my novels. And I want to be writing more little things. I’ve never understood why authors don’t write more little pieces. Micro-fiction and haikus. To me, it’s like being a painter who never doodles in the margins of a workbook.

I also want to journal more. I want to write about what I’m seeing in the world right now, process it on the page. Because damn, a lot is going on right now. I’ve found myself wondering if this sort of writing is a waste of time because no one but me sees this.

I swear, I can hear Natalie Goldberg yelling at me right now. Since she’s not here to say it, let me say it for her. 

Freewriting in your notebook is probably the most important writing you ever do! 

I know, I know. But this is the part where my artist brain and business brain duke it out. My artist side knows that practice is essential. That getting my feelings out on the page is good for my mental health. That I should be writing in my journal every single damned day for myriad reasons that I don’t need to list because I and every other writer has listed already.

The business side says, “What’s the point if it’s not making you money or getting you exposure?” 

I can’t just ignore that voice. I’ve learned it’s best to work with my darker instincts, not against them. Give them what they want but in a healthy way. And that voice likes numbers. It likes to see numbers going up. So if an hour of writing haikus in my notebook can be seen as increasing my word count for the day, then I’m all in.

What I love about this goal is that it’s not on top of what I’m already doing. I’m not writing a novel, blog posts and podcast scripts, then writing a million words on top of that. That would be stupid to the highest degree. What this is, is me stretching. Writing more than I usually do. Writing more consistently. Reaching for a goal. A big, fat, scary goal.

Being my impetuous self, I did start right smack dab in the middle of August. I didn’t wait for the first of September. I didn’t wait for the new year. What’s the new year mean? Every day is a new day. I can set a new goal any day I want. Dream a new dream at any time. Who says I can’t?

I’m sure I’ll be giving you regular updates. And next year I’m sure I’ll do at least one big long post about how my year trying to reach a Milwordy went. My deadline, far away in 2021 is August 14th. Let’s see if I can write a million words in a year. What do you think?


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