Wednesday, July 23, 2008

2K a day

I write at least 2,000 words every day, although I usually take Sundays off. This means I can churn out a first draft in 3 months. In the past year I've written 3 complete manuscripts, including rewrites of two of them, and a 10K short. Before the year ends I aim to rewrite one of those novels again and finish the first 150 pages of a brand new story, as well as another short.

Why am I telling you this? Because I cannot stress enough the importance of writing on a schedule. So many people wait until they're moved to write, inspired by something or someone, and then a fury overtakes them and they write and write and write until they are drained. Some people have told me they stay up until 4 or 5 in the morning writing when they're in the zone.

And then what do they have the next day? A horrifying blank page. Blecch.

Is it wrong to create in this fashion? Of course not. You can scratch your words out on the back of a grocery receipt at three in the morning while you listen to Neil Diamond on your iPod for all I care. If that works for you, more power to ya. But more often than not, I think that doesn't work for people. It's too erratic (what will I create? when will I create? can I still create?) and contributes to unnecessary anxiety over the writing process. And believe me there is so much anxiety involved with writing and publishing, why would you want to add to it?

When someone asks me for writing advice, I tell them this:

1. Read. A lot.
2. Write. Everyday.
3. Finish. Whatever you write.