Challenge,  On Writing

Slow Starts Are Perfectly Fine

No Reason At All To Worry…

A number of you have decided to take the writing challenge with me for the next nine months, until the end of the year. But I have gotten a number of letters worried about starting slow. And I am starting slow, as I said I would.

This worry can really invite in critical voice, repeating over and over that you are failing. Not sure why anyone buys that a few days into a nine month challenge, but if you buy into it, and let critical voice take over, it sort of becomes a self-fulfilling thing. Yikes!

The key is to focus on the writing and just enjoy it and do what you can do on the story you are working on. Nothing more and nothing less. The more you push away the pressure and worry, the more fun the creative voice will have and the more you will write.

You worry, focus on the words only, you will write less. Just the nature of writing.

Now as I said before all this started, I will be off to a slow start COMPARED TO MY OLD SPEED. I will report my words on my web site on Monday. But my new speed, with my eye still recovering, I knew I was going to be slower than I used to be.

Shrug… I don’t care in the slightest.

And due to life circumstances this week, I even missed two days of writing fiction.

Shrug… I don’t care in the slightest.

Why do I not care? Because nothing in life is steady and nothing in writing is steady and I have learned that over decades and decades. But I do know if I just keep going, my speed will pick up, things will smooth out, and when I hit my old normal speed it will seem easy and great fun.

But this is the start. If you started fast or better. Great!! If you started slow but got started. Great!!

The only thing that is important is the telling a story. Count the words at the end of the week or end of the month and during the week just go play. Have fun. Tell yourself stories.

And stop worrying.


  • Philip

    This was my exact worry. I started my own challenge on Friday and have only hit around 500 words daily. It’s silly to worry because even if I kept that pace all year, it would still be around 4-5 novels at 183,000 words total. This critical voice is a thing of evil.

  • Deb Miller

    Thanks so much for these last 2 posts, Dean. I knew I would have a slow April due to 2 previously planned big trips. But I’ve still been beating myself up about not hitting my word count, which makes me just not want to write at all. Yep, critical voice figures out how to use just about anything to set up a stop sign. These posts help me ignore that damn voice!

  • Jonathan Coker

    I have had a slow start as well but it was due to a family vacation in the Las Vegas area. We also rented a car and drove to the Grand Canyon. Instead of beating myself up about my slow start, I’m going to try and use my trip as inspiration for future writing.

    I am from North Carolina, so the change in terrain and the vibe from Vegas was refreshing. Sometimes for me this helps in getting the creative part of my brain back in motion. Same thing with good artwork, favorite genre fiction, and music. I try to get Ray Bradbury with it, or even watch some of his interviews where he gets passionate about the written word.

  • Britt Malka

    Keep it fun, always 🙂

    I started out aiming to reach a minimum average word count because I know that I’ll run into “life” issue later.

    I also know that if I don’t hit my goal one day, it’s no big deal.

    Back in 2010, though, I did a 100 articles in 100 days challenge. It was back when Ezine Articles were still great. And they offered a prize. I wanted that price, but procrastinated.

    The last day of the challenge was December 31. I had written 75 up until that day. A few articles here and there.

    That last day, I wrote 25 articles and my brain was boiling at the end of the day.

    This taught me a lesson about procrastination that I still struggle to remember, haha, but I do my best. I can’t imagine writing 250,000 words the last day of December 2023.