And the Enemy of Excuses…
Writers who want to hold dearly to the myths of writing must stay away from math. Math can be super deadly to writer’s fears and myths and beliefs. Math, after all, is just numbers.
So let me point out where this is glaringly clear in a simple example.
You write 250 words of fiction a day, shorter than many of your emails. Most writers can do that in 15 minutes or less.
So you do that every day, you manage to make your writing important enough in your life that you carve out 15 minutes a day to do it.
250 words x 365 days = 91,250. That’s a full novel.
Now is where this entire column gets brutal. Let’s say you really like writing 50,000 word novels like I do.
And you can manage to cut out of your busy game schedule and work and family and television schedule one hour a day to write. And if you are like most writers, you can do 1,000 words in that hour. (If you are much slower than that you need to deal with the fear.)
Here comes the math…
1,000 words x 365 days = 365,000 words divided by 50,000 word novels = 7.3 novels a year. So say you took two weeks vacation from that horrid hour-per-day schedule so you only wrote 7 novels in a year.
AND HERE COME THE EXCUSES…
Wrapped up in neat bows in writing myths.
Excuse #1… What about rewrites? If you are still lost in that myth, I can’t help you. Learn how to cycle and write in to the dark and stop being sloppy and produce a finished draft.
Excuse #2… Where will I get that many ideas? (I really can’t help you.)
Excuse #3… What about all the publishing that goes along with that? Oh, no, every month or so you might have to spend a few extra hours to publish your novel so you can make money.
Excuse #4… What about all the plotting and outlining and character sketches and such to get ready ahead of time. (Oh, my…seriously?)
And on and on and on… Pick a myth…
I Am a Professional Writer…
I have filled my days with doing some teaching, staying in shape, taking care of a lot of our food, and writing this blog. So assume that in and amongst all those fine tasks, I can manage about four hours a day toward writing. I am old, after all, wouldn’t want to stress myself too much. (grin)
I write about a thousand words per hour, a little more most times. But let me keep it simple at a thousand.
So I can do 4,000 words a day without issue. Some days a lot more, some a little less.
4,000 words x 365 days (Why would I need a day off from writing?) = 1,460,000 words.
That’s pretty close to what I hit on a normal year of consumable words. I do not count email or posts on Facebook or responses to comments on my blog. That is a comfortable amount to me that I just hit regularly.
OH, OH… MORE MATH….
My challenge from yesterday…
Say I wanted to spend every word in a year on writing short stories. Say all my stories averaged 4,000 words. (About what I do. Some drop to 2,500, some go to 6,000.)
1,460,000 words divided by 4,000 = 365. Hmmm, sounds like the challenge I am working on this year,… a story a day.
But I also want to do a novel a month, which will add in 500,000 to 600,000 more words.
And I will keep doing this blog, average about 500 words a day x 365 = 182,500.
So I need to write this year over 2,000,000 (That’s 2 million) words to hit this challenge. I have done that many years, but not in about six or so. So it will be a challenge.
So do the math… (This will hurt I am afraid…)
2,000,000 million words divided by 1,000 words an hour = 2,000 hours.
2,000 hours divided by 365 days= 5.5 hours a day.
So to do this I have to work just barely over a part time in numbers of hours, without a commute, and on my own time.
How Much Will I Be Paid?
If I hit this and produce 365 short stories (different pieces of IP) and 12 novels (different pieces of IP) and get at least 30 or more collections out of the stories (IP) and maybe a few nonfiction books out of the blogs (IP), how much will this part-time amount of hours be worth over my lifetime (plus the 70 years after I am gone)?
Might be the best-paying, part-time occupation anyone could ever have.
And what a fun thing to do, sit alone in a room and make stuff up.
As I said, stay away from math if you want to hold all your myths and excuses of why you don’t write more than you do.
Welcome to 2021!!!