80,000 Words

Just a few of the 20,000 words I blogged about this month, word cloud created by Wordle.net

I debated naming this post: “Blogging is Easier for me than Writing Fiction.”
Because the truth is: blogging is easier for me than writing fiction. I love blogging, and by dedicating my month of May to it, I have written 20,000 words to be (approximately) precise. In fact, daily blogging really adds up and for the past (almost) four months, I’ve blogged every day but two—so to extrapolate: I’ve written (approximately) 80,000 words in the past four months.

Those 80,000 blog-words serve a wonderful and important purpose; they:

1. Got me writing every single day and made me realize that I can make a commitment to daily writing and stick to it.

2. Connected me with wonderful, supportive, encouraging writers, who have given me daily feedback on my writing.

3. Reminded me that day after day, little by little, words add up.

Still, I look at all those words, the time that went into writing them, and I think about my WIPs. With the same focused attention I give to my blog, I could finish a draft of a novel (and more) with 80,000 words.

The truth remains: I want to be a published novelist. And the only way I know how to do that is to keep on writing fiction.
Which is why I’m renewing my daily date with my kitchen table. Some how, some way, by hook or by crook, I will figure out a way to put the same kind of dedication and commitment to work with my fiction. Even if it’s easier to write my blog.

Which is easier for you? Blogging or fiction? How do you switch gears between the two?




  1. BIKE LADY says:

    What a great insight for you! I hope you will commit to writing that novel or two or three…I read something once a novelist said about writing. She said all you have to do is commit to 1,000 words a day. That’s all. Just 1,000. Just during the week. Take the weekends off. Soon you will have your novel.

  2. OMG, I’m the opposite. I’ll blab away on my WIP for hours. I get stressed trying to think of blog topics! Plus, I tend to ruuuuunnnn oooonnnn so the long form works for me. However, I have noticed blogging is helping me learn to get to the point!

    Stick with it…you’ve proven you can write 80k words, that’s more than most people can say!

  3. BikeLady, Thanks for your encouragement — I know it’s true, just time to prove it to myself and get to work!

    Stephanie, That’s so funny that you’re just the opposite (I think I’d prefer your way because I’m beginning to think I have an avoidance to succeed!) Glad your blogging is helping you, maybe it can help me, too–and as you say, if I stick with it & produce 80K words with blogging, I should be able to with a novel, too. Thanks so much for the visit & the comment!

  4. For some reason, it always seems easier to write anything BUT your novel (for me, at least)… and I haven’t quite figured out the paradox behind it. Because, like you, I WANT to write my novel, and I love it when I’m doing it. But for whatever reason, it’s very easy to let ‘other’ things take precedence. UNLESS, as you’re doing, you make it a priority! So, good for you and your kitchen table. Go get ’em, Julia! TOTALLY impressed by your 80,000 blogging words. This is proof positive that you CAN and WILL finish your WIPs!

  5. Melissa, Thanks for the continued encouragement. You are so right about making it a priority, which I believe will be easier now that I have my “blogging legs” under me. I think you hit it on the head that it’s easy to let other things take priority, probably because we only are accountable to ourselves. At least blogging, I knew others were waiting with baited breath 🙂

  6. Congrats on 80,000 words! Not to mention, giving pleasure to your readers with your entertaining blogging style.

    I find blogging for my travel blog to be the easiest and funnest writing I currently do. Writing for my writing blog seems harder – I don’t know why, and usually once I get started it flows.

    Writing fiction is easy for me if I’m doing it for my own pleasure. If I have any external goals for it, however, it takes more effort. And half the effort is making myself get started.

    Good luck recommitting to your daily date with the kitchen table. If an opinion from a reader counts for anything, I would love to read a novel written by you! Especially after having loved your Mr. Able story so much.

  7. Milli, Thanks for the congrats and the compliment! I definitely can see why the travel writing is fun, except that I feel the PRESSURE to get it right! At least my blog, I can make things up (not that I WOULD) if I want to. I can’t tell you how much it means that you’d like to read a novel written by me — unfortunately my avoidance is all about me, not what others think! Thanks for the encouragement!

  8. Yea! “Kitchen” is one of your top words!

    That’s great that you are renewing your commitment to fiction. Were you writing less fiction during the Blogathon?

    For me, blogging is easier than writing nonfiction. (And fiction is harder to write than anything else.) It’s easier for me to write like I would talk to someone, which is what I try to do when I write blog posts.

    Also, congrats on completing the Blogathon! You’re a ultramarathon blogger, I think, since you’ve been going strong for several months. That’s inspiring!

  9. Jen, I love that kitchen is one of my top words, too! Definitely writing less fiction during the blogathon, but I’m always a little skitterish around my fiction, said to say. Interesting your “writing heirarchy” sounds exactly like mine! I think we have similar styles, which may be why I love your blog so much! Thanks for the congrats on finishing — you too! — and I like the description of ultramarathon blogger. Woohoo (why didn’t I use THAT for my blog title!?).

  10. Leah says:

    No question: blogging is easier than fiction for me. But I learned something from a writing teacher recently that got me far less intimidated by fiction writing. She said how all our stories and family memories are, essentially, fiction because we remember things so differently than our siblings, family members, etc. Therefore you may think you’re writing your biography, but you could change a few names and it’s fiction. That got me thinking I could write more and call it fiction. Now I just need to do it.

  11. Hey, Julia! Congrats on the milestone! I actually started my blog in order to help me write my novel in March 2010. I figured the blog would be a place for me to work things out, reach out, vent, etc., and it truly helped — plus, as you note, I got to meet so many amazing readers and writers along the way too. I look forward to reading your novel one day. 🙂

  12. Cynthi Robertson says:

    Whoo hoo! You did your month 🙂 I hope you and MEH are going to celebrate?
    My WIP is easier for me. I don’t have to think of a different topic with my WIP. I already know what comes next.
    Blogging is more of a challenge for me and I’m finding it takes time away from my WIP, so I’ve started only posting once a week. It’s just not as important as getting the book done.

    Congratulations on sticking out your month, Julia. It’s an accomplishment.

  13. Jan says:

    It’s fun to read everyone’s comments and POVs. I’d rather blog than write an article. And I realized finding a picture for my blog takes me more time than writing the actually blog post.

    Keep at your dream. Don’t listen to the lies in your head. Speak the truth. It’s been such a pleasure getting to know you and your blog.

    Blessings to you,

  14. Nancy Kelley says:

    20,000 words in a month of blogging? Just thinking about it like that makes me freeze up. Blogging is definitely a chore for me, whereas fiction writing is fun and natural.

    Strangely, I think it’s editing that makes the difference. When I’m writing a novel, I don’t worry about getting it perfect. I just get it down, and later I spend (several, agonizing) hours fixing it up. I don’t have that luxury with my blog posts. I do write them early and tweak them right up until the post date, but I still feel far more pressure to be perfect.

  15. I, personally, have LOVED reading your blogs and will miss hearing from you every day…..I would say blogging is easier – since I don’t write fiction!

  16. I just discovered your blog on this our last day of the blogathon. highly engaging…I vote for blogging vs. crafting fiction because it’s a shorter term commitment. Good luck with that book project – I will be following your progress on Twitter!

  17. Leah, That is an interesting writing tip from your writing teacher…to turn things around and look at it from a different point of view. I’ll be curious to see if it will help me–as you say, and I agree about myself: “now I just need to do it.”

    Dina, Interesting that you started your blog to help you finish your novel! I am reaching that exact same conclusion myself (even though that’s not why I originally began)! I hope I can accommodate you and provide you with a novel to read someday…. and I look forward to reading yours (it sounds intriguing!)

    Cynthia, Yes, WOOHOO. MEH and I have planned a low-key celebration of sushi and champagne by moonlight (that’s a lie, we’ll probably have burritos and a beer, haha). So interesting that blogging is more of a challenge for you! I agree the WIP is more important, just how do I shift my mind….?

    Jan, Thanks for your visit and comment — so interesting about finding pictures to go with your post…. I agree it can be challenging. I almost always take my own photos now and they sometimes dictate what I write, in fact. Thanks for your encouragement with beating my head voices. And glad you enjoy my blog, I appreciate it!

    Nancy, That is so interesting that blogging makes you freeze up — I wish I felt as easy about fiction as you do! Maybe I need to try and develop a less perfectionist attitude as I write; a good insight about editing, although I tend to be an “edit as you go kind of gal,” as a couple of writer friends called it (about themselves) recently….

    cookinghealthy, So happy you’ve loved the blogs; don’t worry about missing my blogs too much — I’ll still be blogging at least several times a week! Looking forward to your blogging, too!

    Wordsmith, Welcome to my blog — glad you find it engaging! Short term commitment… interesting terminology. That makes sense to me that I’d like the short term commitment; the long term commitment of the novel is a little scary based on past rejections… Thanks so much for your insightful comment! Please return for more posts!

  18. CMSmith says:

    I think the commitment is a huge part of it. That, and possibly fear of failure. Who cares if a blog post isn’t spectacular. Best advice I ever read was to write “Shitty first drafts.” — Anne Lamott.

  19. Christine! I would welcome ANY first draft at this point — I think you are so right that I have a fear of commitment as well as a fear of failure. Thanks for your support!

  20. Julia:

    I’m so glad that you joined the blogathon since it got you back into the daily writing habit. Best of luck with your fiction writing! Since you write fiction, pop over to WordCount on June 7 when my guest will be Laura Vanderkam, author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, talk about how to make time to write fiction – I think you’ll like it.



  21. Michelle, Thanks so much for the visit and the comment! I will most definitely be checking out your June 7th blog (I’ve enjoyed all your posts!); it sounds very pertinent and timely for me. I appreciate the heads up! Thanks also, so much, for organizing the blogathon. I know it must have been an enormous amount of work. I really enjoyed it, and I am missing the daily blogging and assessing how to proceed! Thanks again & cheers, Julia