I scroll through my drafts and find so many with 444 words written, or something close to that.
I don’t know what it is about that range that makes me give up on something. But it’s clearly a spot I lose interest.
444 words may be a lot for some people. I wish I could explain why I can write two pages in a book in 10 minutes. I wish I could explain why others can’t. I wish I could explain why I can do it and don’t do it all the time.
It’s a fickle thing, this world of writing. It’s given to you from a place you don’t understand, so it’s fair to question whether or not your name belongs on the final copy.
Maybe that’s why I have hundreds of drafts; some mere headlines with a quick lede, some 444 words, some even more than that.
When I’m off the road, I feel compelled to sit down at my desk, with the lights dim and the distractions tucked away. I like to stretch my neck and look around the room and give myself a chance to breathe.
I like to turn on the fan and let it suck my temptations away; my temptations to open Tinder. My temptations to open YouTube. My temptations to leave my current headspace and give up on an article.
But sometimes, an article is just worth giving up on.
Because there is no scale to writing. There is no amount of production that makes you good; there is no line of demarcation in “works produced” that determines whether you’re prolific or not.
The more you write, the more you edit. Sometimes it’s words on a page, sometimes it’s articles on a platform, sometimes it’s books in a library.
I wrote two books; two books that I felt I needed to write. I could have written more books by now. I could finish the book I’m currently writing. Anytime I want.
Once I enter the portal, I’m free. My fingers do the talking. I just sit back and read them.
I have 25 pages of a book written right now. I haven’t touched it in eight months.
I’m not sure why. It’s a good idea, and it’s great so far.
But like the other hundreds of drafts, I’m still seeking something to give it life.
Maybe it will come soon. Maybe it will never come. Ideas flow constantly, and some are better than others.
I will dump 6,225 words just as fast as I’ll dump 444 if something stronger comes along.
This work means too much to me to let a few numbers sway my decisions.
My drafts will remain drafts, until their time comes. If their time comes.
Dylan Hughes is a 26-year-old freelance writer covering self-development and his life on the road as a tour manager. You can read his writing on Medium and Substack — and check out his two books on Amazon.