Challenge,  On Writing

Ground Effect

With Writing…

Basically, ground effect with airplanes is a feeling that the plane pushes away from the ground as it gets closer, can just float over the ground once it is in the air. It has a lot of technical stuff about what causes it, but I don’t really care. What I am talking about is that feeling that it is easier to keep writing day after day when you have been writing day after day.

In other words, easier to keep the writing aloft than stop and then have to restart. Stay floating over the runway instead of letting the wheels hit and coasting to a stop.

A ton easier.

Starting with writing is always the hardest on any project, but if you maintain a regular amount every day, the writing suddenly feels easier. It isn’t really, but it FEELS easier.

At the moment I am hovering around 3,000 words a day and it honestly feels like every day, if I had more time, I could do a ton more. I had to stop on the novel for a little bit today to finish up a couple of short stories that were due, but still managed 3,000 words on the novel and kept the flight off the ground.

So I thought I would just remind a few of you here tonight that setting a daily pace, getting off the ground and hitting that pace after a few days makes the writing just feel so much easier.


  • Aniket Gore

    I like the keeping it floated analogy. It’s like a streak. It’s easier to maintain a certain word count goal than stopping and restarting.

  • Vincent Zandri

    Right on Dean.

    Back in the old days when I was relying purley on tradtional contracts, I never would have believed in a million years that I could do 3K or more words per day and still have lots of time for other things like exercising and fishing or whatever.

    In fact, when I would attempt to write more, editors and even my agent would say, “Take a break why don’t you? It will be good for your writing.” In time, I called BS on that and began to write as much as I wanted, how I wanted, when I wanted, and much to my surprise, I found out that I could do it, and do it pretty well.

    And these days I’m so anxious to get my work to market, I’ve been bypassing the magazine process. I’ll simply write one clean draft, hand it off to my editor, make the necessary corrections (usually just grammar), and have the story published within days. I write six or seven stories, then collect them in one big volume and get that out in all formats also.

    After that, it’s onto the next one, and the next one.

    My particular challenge, if you wanna call it that, is 100 IPs in my indie “bakery” by end of year. Currently I have around 80 titles.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    • dwsmith

      Yup, traditional publishers just couldn’t handle more than one or two books a year from one writer. And the garbage about not writing making you better is so damned funny. Tell any artist in any field except writing to do less to get better and they would laugh you out of the room. Writers are so damn stupid at times. Especially when we were listening to idiots at traditional publishing houses. They actually believe that crap. I just worked for four or five different publishers at the same time during my traditional days. Still a pain.

      • Nathan Haines

        The cognative dissonance from “knowing” that writing slowly and carefully and then revising constantly was the only way to get better along with knowing that the only way to get better at drawing, computer troubleshooting, public speaking, video games, and playing piano was to dedicate real time to it–every single day, day after day–was really comfortable, actually.

        It just existed there, in my brain, stopping me from writing into the dark even though it was fun and produced good results. Because it was cheating. Not “worthy” of any of the analysis I did for the classic authors in high school classes. Well, reading your blog, and then grabbing a couple of lectures and books really solved that. But it was like popping a soap bubble. Yes, everything made sense. But, but… Surface tension kept the bubble alive, resisting the idea. You get good at writing by writing a lot, every day.

        After the ‘pop,’ it was an amusing feeling. “How could I not have put the pieces together?” But the results don’t lie either. It turns out the hard part was rejecting the myths long enough to trust what was obviously working.

        And it certainly makes one excited to see what else will work out when you just have fun telling stories…

        • dwsmith

          Nathan, great way to describe it. Thanks!! When that “pop” happens for writers and they realize that “practice” isn’t a dirty word in writing, it is great fun to watch.

          I was a golf professional at one point, and would often hit a thousand balls on the range, then go play 18, then hit more balls. Yet when I started I bought into the myth as well until one day I had that “pop” and went “What the hell am I thinking?” And from there never looked back. Why I do fun challenges like write a story a day for a month or write four novels in one month. Called practice.

  • Mihnea+Manduteanu

    I am feeling this so true right now. Had about three months of constant 3k a day and had to stop for a week (life got in the way) and now I am struggling to get back to that. I am writing daily but averaging only 1k, a bit of the confidence is gone, but it’s still a streak. Building back up to 3k.