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November 10, 2011 / benrovik

The Thousand Words

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“You must write every day of your life…”  Ray Bradbury

Write when you can. Finish what you start. Edit what you finish. Self-publish. Repeat.  J.A. Konrath

I have a job.  I have another job.  I have chores.  I have cats who need feeding and a stomach that needs filling and a tiny green car that needs its 7-gallon tank refilled every other time I drive it.

But I also want to be a writer, not just a person who writes.  And so that means I’m challenging myself to write a minimum of 1,000 words every day.

A thousand words works out to about a page and a half in a .doc, at my formatting.  By itself, that’s not much.  But after four months of a thousand words a day go by, a meaty fantasy novel of 120,000 words emerges.  With time in between for editing, formatting and days of nothing but promotion, a thousand words a day means it’s totally possible to write two large novels a year.

Quantity alone isn’t the goal, of course.  I started writing the Mechanized Wizardry books because I had an idea that intrigued me, and characters that I liked, and a plot that became more fun to dream up the longer I lived with it.  Why would any writer sit down with the goal of creating bad books?

But if my mission is to write great fantasy for a worldwide audience, part 1 is writing great fantasy (quality) and part 2 is reaching that worldwide audience.  To that end, I totally buy J.A. Konrath’s argument that the best advertisement for your writing is your writing. “The larger your virtual shelf space, the more likely you’ll be discovered.”

If I spend hundreds of hours now trying to drive people to my Amazon page, they’ll only see one book there, which they may or may not buy.  If I dedicate those same hundreds of hours to writing instead– a minimum of 1k words every day–then when people come to the page, they’ll see a whole series ready to suck them in and keep them entertained.  And Amazon’s algorithms and myriad “because you liked Tom Waits’ Bone Machine, we think you’ll like Prince’s 1999” tools are way more useful for people who have more titles and more connections between them.

If anything, I think 1,000 words a day isn’t ambitious enough.  But if having a career as a writer is a marathon (or series of marathons), I’m currently training for my first.  And as long as I’ve got people every few miles or so to cheer me on or spray water in my mouth, I know that I can muster up the discipline to do the rest.

PS Today I wrote 1,419 words.

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