This lesson is about a ‘productivity’ tip that I stumbled upon this week that I’ve started using and it’s really helping me.
So What’s The 500 Club?
I came across this concept and the term on the website of a writer and writing teacher called Randy Ingermanson.
Ingermanson talks about one of the biggest problems writers have is having a bottleneck in producing first draft copy – or in laymen’s terms getting words on paper.
His solution is to join ‘the 500 Club.’
How Do You Join The 500 Club? And What Are The Benefits?
There’s no real club called The 500 Club – though maybe there should be. Instead it’s an idea – and what you do is you commit to writing 500 words a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. And so on.
If you did that, you’d produce approximately 180,000 words a year.
Now so you can visualize that – I’d say that most Kindle non-fiction books of the type that say Steve Scott writes and that I plan to write contain around 25,000 – 30,000 words. So 180,000 words is the equivalent of 6 of those books.
Or, if you want to do another comparison, most blog posts are less than 1000 words. So it’s the equivalent of over 180 blog posts! And 180 blog posts is a lot of publishable content. And we’ve not even started talking about repurposing content yet.
However. That’s not where the real magic in this concept is.
The Hidden Magic In The 500 Club
The way that the 500 Club works is that 500 words is a small amount of words to commit to. And because it’s such a small amount of words to commit to – with a correspondingly small amount of time to write the words in – it makes it easier to actually sit down and hammer those words out.
And often, once you’ve written your daily quota of 500 words you’ll find that you’re now ‘warmed up’ and you’ve got further ideas and you’ll go on and write some more words. Maybe another 300. Or another 500. Or even another 1000.
So suddenly instead of writing your daily commitment of 500 words, you’ve sat down and written 1000 or 1500! And to your surprise you’ll find that you CAN do this every day. THIS is the hidden magic in the 500 Club.
One rule though: if you do have a great session and write 1500 words you don’t get to carry those words over to the following day. You have to start the next day from a blank score and write another 500 words.
Two Real Life Applications Of This
Now I only read Ingermanson’s original article last week, so I’ve just started using the concept. And I’m using the 500 Club concept on two separate tasks.
Firstly I’m using it on the planning of my fiction books. And I’ve started doing that first thing in the morning before I do any other work. Because planning isn’t quite the same as writing articles and the like, I use a different measurement method for my commitment.
So I commit to 30 minutes – because that’s a small chunk of the day that I know I can fit in.
This week I’ve finished my 30 minutes of planning every day, but twice I’ve wanted to carry on….so I’ve allowed myself an additional 15 minutes.
And then my main form of exercise is swimming – and I’ve used a similar system for that. The ‘500 Club’ commitment I make is to swim five times a week and swim a minimum of 10 lengths (500 m) each time. So far this week my length tallies are: Sunday 22 lengths; Tuesday 20 lengths; Wednesday 26 lengths.
Again, this all comes from making a minimum commitment, and then realizing you can do more once you’re warmed up.!
I’m a big fan of measuring things like this. It helps keep a record of what you’ve done and how much you’ve written.
A simple spreadsheet is enough – just the date and how many words you’ve written.
That way you can tally each week, and each month, and each year. As the word count mounts up it creates its own sense of momentum – which is the reason for the tallying!
The 500 Club concept is simple: you take your writing and you commit to writing just 500 words a day. Every day.
Whatever happens, you have to get those 500 words in.
When you’ve reached 500 words, you can choose to go on if you wish. But any extra words you create don’t get added on to the next day’s tally. You start back at 0 the next day.
Applying this simple trick (courtesy of Randy Ingermanson) could make you insanely productive in words. So I highly recommend you give it a try!