Writing My First Million

1,000,000 words. That’s the goal! More about that in a bit.

Yesterday I started my blog… again. I won’t go through the whole thought process again here, but yesterday it was hosted on ericheltzel.com. I contemplated whether or not to use my name as the URL. It’s not the easiest name to spell. I’m also not a celebrity. Nor do I hold any accolades in a profession. What would ericheltzel.com mean to anyone?

But since I had come up with nothing better since my first attempt at a blog or personal brand, I decided that I needed to get started, as I implored others to do on a post titled JUST START that I wrote for my business site. So I did. But then today happened.


Today I was thinking about a video series I’ve been watching by DEMIAN ROSS, currently dubbed ROAD TO 1000. It started out as ROAD TO 300, but because he crushed his goal to make 300 videos within a year by making a video every day for 300 days, he upped the ante to 1,000.

I’m not eager to do YouTube videos myself. That’s probably a mistake because YouTube is HOT right now. No, I want to write. I want to write in a world where they say no one reads anymore. But what kind of writing goal could I set with my new blog? Write a blog post every week? Write a post every day?


The simple goals of writing every week or every day are the kind of goals that I’ve set with my blog every time I’ve restarted it. And they just don’t excite me. So I decided to break it down. How many words are in a post? Some bloggers suggest 500, others 800, 1200, or 1600.

Wait, could the words be the goal? If I wrote 500 words per day for a year, that’s 182,000 words. That sounds nice, but it’s lacking that WOW factor for me. What if (and this is a big “what if”) I wanted to do ONE MILLION WORDS? That’s some Dr. Evil stuff right there. Is that even possible? Would I die long before I reached that goal? It sure sounds like a lot of words. How long would it take me? My inquiring mind wants to know.

So I did what anyone does in 2019 when they want an answer to a question. I went to Google.

Google Search – how many words can i write per day

1,000 words per day for 1,000 days? Dare I make such an attempt? What are the rules? How many words do I currently write each day? Would writing in my journal count toward the number of words? Writing an email? Writing on a Post-it note? Would writing professionally for clients count toward my goal? No, not only would that be near impossible to track, but I’m doing most of that writing anyway. I’m supposed to be doing something new here.

I kept playing with the numbers. I decided that I wouldn’t try to rival Hemingway and go over 1,000 words. Not that I’ll be poring over how I’m going to write the next Old Man and the Sea, but if I think I’m going to triple Hemingway’s production to meet this goal by the end of 2019… yeah, I agree, I’ll never pull it off.

There are 1,069 days left until the calendar flips to 2022. That would require an effort of 935 words per day. It’d be aggressive, but doable. I would have to push myself to sit down and write. If I wanted a day off, I would have to prepare by writing more in advance or making up what I missed.

I can do that. I’m committing. Write this down.

Eric Heltzel will write 1,000,000 words before 2022.


The progress of this endeavor will need to be fairly easy to measure or I don’t stand a chance. So here are some rules off the top of my head.

Words must be published for the first time on writingmyfirstmillion.com to count. Now, I’m not going to get too crazy either way on this. I’m not going to count the words in the graphics I create. I’m not going to count the words in documents or other resources that I post. I’m not going to count image captions. Basically, the words in the main content of the page or post text are all that are being counted. I’m also not omitting every single quotation from the count, but I also won’t be inserting an inordinate number of block quotes to try to beef up my numbers. I won’t be pasting a great deal of content, whether originating with me or not, to stay on track.

I’m not ever going to put out some sort of a word dump. What I write will be coherent. For example, I’m not just going to write down a list of words starting with the letter B. My writings are going to express something that I hope those who find this blog will want to read. The underlying motive behind this is a goal for me. And I want to provide some sort of value to my audience. I’m not going to count my own comments (or the comments of others) on posts or pages.

I’ll post the number of words counted at the bottom of each post or page. I’ll post weekly updates on the number of words and what pages and/or posts on which they were counted. No, I won’t count the words in those updates. I welcome readers to challenge me if I’ve made a serious error, but I’ve seen Pages, Word, Byword and Grammarly disagree on word counts so I’m not going to stress out over a word or two.

I’m not just going to keep writing about something just because I need to hit my word count. If I’ve grown tired of writing about the topic, or I think that a post is probably starting to bore anyone reading it because it’s gone on so long, I’ll stop.

Case in point, see you in the next post!

1026 words counted


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Ernest Hemingway – The Old Man and the Sea – https://amzn.to/2MCghck

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