Magical Words: Toothbrush Math – adding and subtracting

Photo by Benjamin Brunner on Unsplash

“On Writing: Little Things that Yield Big Results” by David B. Coe (, 2/25/2013):

Read the above post and then we can get into my comments. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

(Humming Scotland the Brave under breath)

All done? Good. 

This is a great reminder how the little things add up (or subtract).

Manuscript over wordcount too far. Unless you know a scene that just can be cut without impacting the story (and why is it still there in the first place?), deciding to cut 5-10 words per page gives you a cleaner manuscript. Under wordcount? Flesh out 5-10 words per page, making your White Box less so. If you just read through and cut/add as you go, you will end up with an uneven manuscript because you will stop when you reach your goal. Better to spread things throughout the manuscript.

The other part, of finding time to write, is just as important. Don’t concentrate on “well, let’s stop doing these things I enjoy and concentrate only on this”. That way leads to burnout. Just pick a wordcount or amount of time set aside for writing – it can be daily, every other day, weekly, whatever works for you and you can meet. The takeaway of this article is over time, all those words, those minutes WILL add up.

You can only write 250 words every other day – good for you. Short story in 2 months.

Can only create on weekends because that is the only time you got the brain capacity for it? Ten hours every weekend, four two-and-a-hour hour slots, adds up to 40 hours per month. That is equal a part-time job. Good for you! I hope you are having lots of fun.

Little things add up.

Novels only write themselves one word at a time.