Monday, November 14, 2005

Getting the words on the page

When I was first starting to think about writing, I read lots of books on the process (I highly recommend Lawrence Block, by the way... his Writing the Novel and Telling Lies for Fun and Profit are fabulous). Somewhere, though, I remember seeing a quote that was an eye-opener. I don't remember it exactly, but the root of it was, what aspiring writers should be interested in is not so much how writers write as how often.

If I told you it was easy to write a book in three months, you'd think I'm nuts. But I'm not.

If you write a thousand words a day (which is my target) five days a week, at the end of twelve weeks -- that's a meager three months -- you will have written a 60,000 word book. Most people view book-writing in the same vein as marathon-running. The difference is, when you run a marathon, you have to do it all at once. A book requires determination and staying power, too, but nobody's going to know that you only did a half a mile -- or a page or two -- a day. Heck, even at a page a day -- a measly 230 words -- you'll still churn out a 350+ page book over the course of a year (assuming you work weekends). And writers who turn out a book a year are considered prolific. Go figure!

So for all of you aspiring writers, go out there, shoo off your inner editor (you can call him or her back later), and start putting the words on the page.

And if you don't know where to start? Check back soon, and I'll talk about figuring out what the heck it is you want to write.


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