500 Words a Day

I don’t always write 500 words, though I do normally find no difficulty in the 250 I set myself as a minimum for posting. Most of the time I could write more, but I try to have some consideration for the reader (that’s you) as a thousand words of me moaning about modern life would be too much, even for the most determined curmudgeon.

The germ of this post developed from reading about Philip Larkin, which took me on to read about Kingsley Amis. It appears that Amis gained his reputation for having a prodigious output by writing 500 words a day. This does not seem many. He also, it seems, had iron self-discipline, and would always write his 500 words in the morning before devoting the rest of the day to drinking and adultery. I’m not saying I like him, or have liked any of his books in the past, but you have to admire a man who knows his own mind.

I’m not being dismissive about 500 words a day, or 250 or 1,000, which have all been named as a daily target by various people. It’s not easy. It’s particularly not easy to write 500 useful words.

Here are some figures.

3,000 words a day: Anne Rice, Trollope, Conan Doyle, Erle Stanley Gardner, Frederick Forsythe.

1,000 words a day: J G Ballard, Sarah Waters, Sebastian Faulks, Somerset Maugham.

500 words a day: Ernest Hemingway, Graham Greene, Kingsley Amis.

There’s something there for everyone, and if you want to see more you can look here. The highest target I can find 10,000 words a day, from R F Delderfield and Michael Crichton.

That brings me up to 262 words. It’s ironic that I’m struggling to get the words done for a blog post about daily word targets.

If I was a proper writer I would have to plough on until 500, or 1,000 or even 10,000 words. On the other hand, if I was a proper writer I’d be getting paid for this.  I either need to get a grip or re-title the post ‘333 Words a Day’.

The photos for today’s post are part of the series ‘Things I’ve Photographed Whilst Sitting in my Chair in Front of the TV’. It’s one of the easier series of photographs I’ve done as it requires no travel, little thought and no duck food.


Roses in close up

The roses are from Monday’s expedition to Aldi and are a delicate pink with a hint of lavender, or mauve. I’m not quite clear about the colours in that range.

I did do some research on the subject, but it ran to 200 words of gobbledygook and left me none the wiser. Bored, confused and none the wiser, to be honest, so I exercised my power to delete.

That, I suppose, leaves us with an important question.Would you rather have 500 words of Greene or Hemingway or 10,000 words of Delderfield or Crichton. There’s no right answer, of course, as I suspect Crichton has outsold all the others combined. It may not be a judgement on the quality of writing, but what’s the point in being the best writer in the world if nobody reads your writing?

That’s 511. It’s quite enough.

The final photo is not a jar of Marmite, it’s a novelty egg cup. When you go to a charity shop with books, it sometimes happens that you buy something…

Marmite - novelty egg cup

Marmite – novelty egg cup



20 thoughts on “500 Words a Day

  1. Helen

    I actually have a set of marmite egg cups – courtesy of my mum for one of my birthdays. We don’t actually need them but one day we might have a guest who has a penchant for boiled eggs, which might then make storing them worthwhile.

    I generally write about 250 words per blogpost. This just happens – I’d never thought about whether I should write more.

      1. Helen

        Well, only you can be the judge of that.

        There are some people who have a boring style and others who engage. You are one of the latter, so whether it is 200 or 500 is fine from my perspective.

  2. Lavinia Ross

    I love the vase of flower photos in the blue-shadowed light. Now that could be the beginning of a mystery story about a man lurking in the shadows of his house, watching events in the neighborhood unfold. 🙂

    Someday I will have to try marmite, just for the experience. I don’t know if we can even get it here. Sounds healthy….full of B vitamins. What could be better? 🙂

    1. quercuscommunity

      I’m going to start making notes of these possible plots.

      Marmite, when scraped thinly on hot buttered toast, is a fine thing. When spread too thickly it is salty and unpleasant.

      Use with care!

  3. jodierichelle

    Ah, interesting about the writers and their self-required output per day. I remember Anna Quindlen saying, “You put your butt in the chair and you write.” I appreciate that un-magical view of it all. Your flowers are lovely!


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