The 1000-Word Project: Creating a Palette

Daniel Fudge has committed to writing 1000 words a day for the month of April. He’ll be sharing his journey with Writer’s Edit readers each week. You can view his previous article here.


Seven days in, 7000 words completed. So far, so good. With one caveat: everything I’ve written so far is crap. But that’s not the point. The point is that I am creating a world, a space, a community of characters, and a narrative.

A friend of mine once told me that writers, much the same as painters, must create their own raw materials. A good painter will create and mix their own paint. They will prepare their own canvas. And then, once they’ve developed their materials they will begin the artwork. A writer must create their own raw materials, too. Not pens and paper, but characters and settings and voices. What I am doing, then, is creating a palette that I will use in the writing of my novel. Essentially, I’m writing 1000 words of pre-novel every day. And it’s actually a lot of fun. 

What I’m writing:

This where the main source of enjoyment comes from. Since I’m not bound by any sort of chronology or structure (because, remember: I’m creating the raw materials for a novel, not the novel itself) this allows me to jump freely from setting to setting and character to character. Halfway through drafting one scene I might write a particular phrase that triggers an idea for another scene. No matter: just insert an em-dash, drop a few lines, and start writing from a new perspective, with a new style, about a completely new setting. I may return to the initial scene later, or I may just leave it be.

I write monologues, dialogues, character and landscape studies, in the first-person or the third, in a refined or a rough style. As long as I do 1000 of them a day, I don’t mind what words I put down on the page. 

How I’m writing:

For this exercise I am using my laptop. I often prefer to write with pen and paper, but the laptop has it’s own advantages. Splurge-writing is at it’s most effective when done on a laptop, in a dark room, with Microsoft Word blown up to full-screen size. It is ‘writing-without-distraction’ at its very best. 

Another advantage: word count. That’s very important. I try not to let the little ticker on the bottom of the page distract me (which it often does) but it is nice having a definite end-goal for each day that I can measure easily and effectively.

Where I’m writing:

Car comp
Using a laptop has given Daniel’s writing routine more flexibility…
Image Credit: Daniel Fudge.

Another good thing about the laptop is portability (sure, it doesn’t fit in your pocket like a notepad, but it’s close enough). I’ve written inside, outside, in the car, and in front of the TV. As the month continues maybe I’ll find a space that I feel most comfortable in, but for now it’s simply a mixture of experimenting with different settings and embracing convenience.

Moving onwards:

I find it easier to write on some days than others, but I can already feel this part of the day that I set aside for writing assimilating into my natural routine. If I have been able to lay the groundwork for a (fingers-crossed) lasting habit in just one week then hopefully by the end of the month my writing routine will be running like a well-oiled machine.

Daniel Fudge

Daniel wishes he was from Pambula. When he's not buying books and building houses, he co-produces the weekly podcast The Antipodecast and tweets @thisdanfudge. Daniel graduated from Wollongong's creative writing program in 2011.

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