Thursday, August 8, 2013

Take the Grafton Challenge

Anthony Grafton made some waves in the blogopshere recently when he told Noah Charney of The Daily Beast that he writes 3500 words in a normal morning.

Here is a taste of that interview:

Describe your morning routine.

Absolutely. When I want to write, at home, I get up about 5, make coffee, slowly begin to be conscious. I’ll do a fair amount of other work, check email and Facebook and news sites, then I’ll bring my wife coffee and read the newspaper. It’s a long day’s reaching consciousness. By 8 I like to be at the computer and I like to write until about noon. 

Do you like to map out your books ahead of time, or just let it flow?
I write my first draft on the computer. I used to write everything out by hand, but just don’t have the time, patience, or legible handwriting to make that possible anymore. I like to write quickly, so in ideal conditions I’ll have done a lot of research, made a lot of notes, before I sit down. But I don’t do an outline. By the time I could do an outline, I’ll already know what I need to say, so I’ll just sit and write. 

What do you need to have produced/completed in order to feel that you’ve had a productive writing day?  
If I’m writing full-time I’ll get about 3,500 words per morning, four mornings a we

After reading the interview, Claire Potter of Tenured Radical issued the "Grafton Challenge."  Here it is:

Finish your manuscript before Anthony Grafton does and win valuable prizes! (Self-esteem, good humor and bloggy fellowship are what sponsors have donated to date.) All you have to do is go to the original post and enter your numbers and you are in. I just did: 120,000 words, 12 months: that’s 10,000 real words a month, 2,500 a week, divided by five = 500 words a day.  But, as Grafton points out in the interview, not every word is a good word, so I’m going to double that to 1,000 words a day, five days a week.The hashtag is #graftonline (a coolio double entendre.)

I will have to give this some serious thought.  Anyone willing to take the challenge?

ADDENDUM:  It looks like I failed to give credit where credit was due.  The "Grafton Challenge" was first proposed by blogger and University of Texas graduate student L.D. Burnett at her blog "Saved by History."  I am sorry for the confusion. Thanks to Dan Allosso for pointing this out.