it's a great life, if you don't weaken (matociquala) wrote,
it's a great life, if you don't weaken

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you are the silence in between what i thought and what i said

I have a spreadsheet where I keep track of how much paid writing I do in a given day. Blogging doesn't count; email doesn't count. Tumblr and twitter and facebook? Don't count.

Only words that pay the bills count.

I don't keep the spreadsheet to guilt trip myself into working, or meeting a daily goal. I keep it because I'm a hyper-self-critical, hyper-self-competitive, workaholic perfectionist, and writing it down gives me something to take to my domineering, overbearing boss (that would be me) to prove to her that really, I have been working hard, and we are getting stuff down, and look, there is measurable forward motion here shut up and have a coffee, lady

So I happen to know that, with the exception of the hypergraphia year of 2003, when I wrote over 600,000 words in twelve months, over the course of the past thirteen years as a professional writer (some of it full-time, some of it with a day job in tow), I have in different years averaged between 650-1250 words of paying copy a day. 

That's somewhere between two and a half and five pages. So far, this year, I'm averaging four pages a day. I'd like to keep that range going.

Now, that's an average. That doesn't mean I write four pages every day. (I know writers who set themselves a goal like that, or--more commonly, two pages a day--and I Know some who write ten pages every day! Or more! and some for whom daily averages are meaningless because they sit down and write every novel and short story in a binge, drunk on their word hoards and reeling. I often finish novels this way, but the bulk of them is written in daily chunks.)

And yet, I have a reputation as a very fast writer.

I'm not. I'm just a writer who shows up (nearly) every day and gets something on paper. Some days I write nothing. Some weeks I write nothing. I take days off. I go on trips and teach workshops. Some days I'm editing or researching, for that matter, and those days have no wordcount attached.

 My point is this: Since 2002, when I finished writing the first novel I ever managed to get past the Dreaded 30K Wall, I've written 25 novels (5 of them collaborative) and over a hundred short stories or novellas.

At an average rate of roughly four pages a day.

Up to a certain point, the more you write the faster you learn--productivity breeds practice, after all.

But four pages a day is pretty doable for many people. And one page a day is probably doable for almost anybody.

So if you've been thinking about writing your great book, the story only you can tell... why not write just one page today?

And another page tomorrow?

If you're an artist, draw a thing today, and another thing tomorrow.

(This blog post, by the way, is exactly five hundred words.

...or about two pages.)

Tags: "you should be writing"

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