Last night I accomplished a goal I’d set for myself years ago: to complete a million new words in a year. I’ve come close in the past, even made over 800,000 words in 2019. But I’ve never crossed the threshold before. The million-word-barrier sat there like it was the twin of the old sound barrier. And, like the sound barrier, the million word barrier turned out to be psychological, not physical.
Once I sat down to really do the work, it turned out to be much easier than I’d ever imagined it could be.
As a result of this success, I’ve decided to take 2021 to do a real challenge. It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. If you wander back over the old blog entries (some of them are a bit messy due to the import, but I’ll clean them up when I can) you’ll see I’ve done challenge stuff a few times: a book in three weeks, so many words in a month, assorted stuff like that.
But this year I’m upping my game.
I got the idea of doing writing challenges in the first place from Dean Wesley Smith. He does this every so often for fun, to push himself, and to try new things. Those ideas have always appealed to me, and I’ve enjoyed pushing myself in this manner before. But this challenge is a little extra.
Dean talks about something he calls “Pulp Speed Writing”. You can read about it more on his blog, here. But the short version is that he calls a million words in a year “Pulp Speed One”. That’s about 83,333 words a month. For every 200,000 words you add, your “Pulp Speed” goes up one notch (think Star Trek Warp Factors). At Pulp Speed Five, you’d be doing 1.8 million words a year, or about 150,000 words a month.
Well, I’ve already done a year at Pulp Speed One. And five out of the last six months, I managed to maintain Pulp Speed Two! I’m going to have to go for something more. 😉
The Challenge, therefore, will be this: To begin the year at a SOLID Pulp Speed Three (116,667 words per month), and, over the course of 2021, rank up my skill and speed to the point where I can reliably maintain Pulp Speed Five (150,000 words per month). The sooner I can hit PS5, the better, of course! I’ll leave a stretch goal in there of hitting Pulp Speed Five for the YEAR (1.8 million words), but if I miss that this year, it’s totally OK – I’ll have something to aim for in 2022…
If you’re here reading this, awesome and thanks! I’m aiming to post regularly about how the writing is coming along, new releases, news, odd thoughts, and snippets from my work. If you’re interested in seeing this Pulp Speed stuff in action, whether you’re a writer or a reader, stick around. This will be fun!