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Change is the enemy – I need stability to write

Apparently the saying “you learn a new thing every day” does hold some truth. Though in my case it’s more of a “you learn something every day, but it takes several months and quite a lot of stumbles before it takes”.

Case in point: BLOGGING.

As much as I love giving progress reports and updates on what it is I’m working on, I’m far more comfortable talking about it on Twitter or face-to-face with a friend. If I have to write up a post, it feels too much like writing about nothing. It’s this overwhelming feeling I get (social anxiety – a gift that keeps on giving) where it feels wrong and pointless to get peoples attention without something significant to present. No book (because, you know, it’s getting written or edited), so what’s the point of a separate post just to tell people where I’m at. Result? A post every couple of months that gets posted, because I feel like I should put something new out there.

Having a full-time job doesn’t help either. Though I enjoy it a lot, it’s a challenging one. And it’s full of changes and all the stress that comes with them. It does pull my focus away sometimes.

And here’s the thing I learned (now that it finally sunk in):

I write the most when my life is stable and I’m not dealing with too much stress. Routine really helps me, especially if it’s a quiet one that doesn’t involve too much external noise. I know, how very introvert of me.

So I spent a lot of time this past year in an effort to eliminate as much stress out of my life as possible because I figured that my mental health is important and I can’t achieve what I want in life if I’m a big ball of anxiety who can’t even enjoy the success.

So maybe I won’t be blogging on a schedule (going against all the advice people have for writers who want to develop a platform), and maybe the posts will not be as SEO friendly as they should be, but they will be more personable and more personal. Because why not?

Take a deep breath, me, there’s a whole world out there, waiting for you. It’s not going anywhere.

One Million Words: Halfway Through!

I wrote before about missing old school organization of my time, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’ve been using a bullet journal since April 2016 (see here for an explanation what a bullet journal is).

A post shared by Alex Callahan (@alex_writes) on

And while I’ll definitely write more about my bullet journaling adventure later on, right now, the only reason I’m bringing this up is that I recently realized I’ve passed a rather big milestone in my writing career.

They say you need 10,000 hours to become an expert in something, so I’ve been writing down my word count and how much time I’ve spent writing fiction since I started this crazy adventure.

After doing the math, it turns out that I’m halfway through my goal of writing 1,000,000 words of fiction!

Check out my numbers below:

Year words hours
2012 141552 150
2013 120000 130
2014 50000 70
2015 115222 114
2016 44563 50
2017 44948 73
Total word count: 516285
Total hours: 587

How amazing is that?

And yes, it took me 6 years to get there, but looking at these number is incredibly motivating. If I spend 1,5h writing every day, I could reach one million words this year. In the last two years, I only wrote something in the first half of the year (in 2017 it was due to the fact that I got a brand new job in June and needed a lot of time and mental readjustment). One of my goals this year is to write every day. I want to see how that will influence my yearly word count.

This overview also gave me one additional goal. It seems I will need to write 9,000,000 words (given my wph speed) to reach my 10,000 hours, and as an extension, mastery of my craft.

Wish me luck!

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