One Month of 100 Words

One month ago I set out to write one short creative scene every day for 100 days. How has this worked out for me so far?

Three Goals

When I set out on my 100 Words for 100 Days exercise, I had three goals in mind.

  1. Find the time to write every day
  2. Practice creative writing
  3. Learn to craft tighter scenes

Find the time to write every day

The main goal was to prove to myself that I could find the time to write something creative every day. I’d been struggling to find the time, yet I knew that it wasn’t impossible to squeeze some writing in. By setting a specific block of time aside every day (in the early morning), I quickly proved that I did have the time to write daily. By the end of one month I had made it part of my routine. Achievement unlocked.

Practice creative writing

My secondary goal was simply to practice creative writing. It had been years since I’d really written anything and I wanted to know whether it was really something that I wanted to invest my time in. And how! I found the exercise fantastic. I absolutely loved having the opportunity to write again.

One hundred words a day is very little and easily achievable, and the sheer joy of just getting my virtual pen to paper was exhilarating. I’ve always understood the joy of being creative, having been involved in digital design for over twenty years, but I had forgotten how much fun writing is: creating scenes and characters out of nothing but my imagination. If you’ve not tried it before, I urge you to. It’s brilliant fun and a great way to flex your creative imagination. So my secondary goal was achieved, easily and with great joy.

Learn to craft tighter scenes

Finally, I had intended to use the exercise to practice writing tighter scenes. I’ve always had a tendency to waffle: one hundred words would be a great constraint to see how well I could write tighter, more focused scenes. And this is where I found several problems with the hundred word constraint:

  1. It’s very hard to write meaningful scenes in so few words.
  2. When getting into the swing of writing a short scene, I found I had more to say: the 100 word constraint limited me from exploring the idea more deeply.
  3. The language I could use in a scene became simple and perfunctory. And while there is great merit in keeping writing simple and to the point, I found that I wasn’t able to get the full sense of my intentions onto the page using such limited language.
  4. Coming up with a new scene everyday became a challenge and I realised that they were taking me away from writing the stories that I really wanted to write.

That final point was the biggest frustration for me. I’d already planned several short stories and had loose ideas for full length novels. I’d also plotted out a children’s adventure book. Spending my available writing time on a “throw away” exercise meant that none of my other ideas were being developed. And let’s be honest: If I stuck to my original goal, I would achieve only 10,000 words in three months (not much at all)—and none of those words would be contributing to the better stories I had in mind.

Quitting while ahead

It was clear that the exercise had already achieved the results I wanted. I decided to take what I’d learned and put it into practice on the stories that I really wanted to write.

So that means there will be no more “100 Words” scenes. I won’t be finishing the exercise as I originally planned, but will instead be focusing my writing time on developing the other stories that I’ve been planning for so long. I’m a little sad that I didn’t complete the original goal, but the decision to focus on stories longer than one hundred words is definitely right. There’s no point sticking with something that isn’t making me happy.

Read all the 100 Words for 100 Days entries.

Tags Creativity, Storytelling