The Journey of a Million Words
To say I've had a wild ride over the past 10 years would be an understatement. I never intended to spend almost 11 years in healthcare. Shoot, I never intended to become full-time. It just sort of happened. In October, I made the decision to quit and as of February 1, I left the healthcare field to move back into the writing/publishing world. Taking time out for a trip to Alaska, the rest of the weeks have been spent trying to get back into a writing schedule, reading books about writing, and looking at how different/similar the publishing world is since I left it full-time.
One of the books I grabbed off the shelf was William Cane's, Write Like the Masters. In the first chapter, "Write Like Honore de Balzac", I found some timely inspiration. Balzac wasn't the best writer, meaning he wouldn't have won any literary awards, but he "wrote at a furious pace". So much did he write that he made his living writing and became wealthy to boot.
A few old writing adages I'd like to throw out at this point. It is common knowledge in the writing world that "the more you write, the better you get". Editors at every writer's conference I've attended hammered this fact home. They would say it doesn't matter how old (or young) you are, what color your skin, whether you're rich or poor, have a college degree or not, married or single, whatever. The bottom line is you have to put words on the page. Period. There is no shortcut. Practice makes perfect.
Next, on average, a person has to write a million words before he will get anything published. I know at first glance a million words seems like a lot. I remember when I first heard that I was like "you've got to be kidding me". In the end, nobody was kidding anyone and it has become a basic standard for anyone who wants to write and get published.
After that particular conference, a group of us "newbies" decided we were going to keep track, so we would know when we hit our millionth word and how close we were to actually getting published. We broke it all down and decided if we wrote 1500 words every single day for two years (or 3 years if we'd skip weekends) we'd hit one million words in the time it took to get an Associates Degree. It worked and within two years 85% of us were getting our stories published.
We were researching, reading, learning how to write in different genres, but we were also writing-1500 words a day.
To put a different perspective on the topic, one million words is 4000 pages, eight 500 page books, or sixteen 250 page books. Think of everything you can learn about character, plot, setting, and dialogue in 16 books!!!!
Even though I've had several books published, I have started that kind of training again. I don't intend for it to take me two years to get back up to speed, but each word I write I know will build upon itself until I find a rhythm, a style, a cadence that every writer needs.
If you'd like to join me on this journey of a million words I'd love to hear from you. Drop me a line here or on Facebook. I will send you a short list of rules and a form to keep track of your word count. Writing may be a solitary journey, but together we can build a community of million worders and encourage each other along the way.