Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Half a Million Words

Since August of 2004, when I began to write my first novel, I've written more than a half a million words in four novels.

I have heard it said that the first million words are for practice. If that is so, then I am moving into my second half of my practice run.

I'm not sure if I get extra credit for a decade of poetry writing and critique, as well as for textbook chapters and professional articles. If so, then I am probably at my million word mark.

What have I learned in those million or so words?

--I still love the play and rub of one word on another.

--I love to find the right combination of sounds that convey just the right emotion and meaning.

--I'm not afraid to slash and burn, deleting whole scenes and chapters and rebuilding them from scratch.

--Revision is not a dirty word.

--When you're a writer, you have license to eavesdrop on conversations. Corollary: If you are a writer, strangers in coffee shops like to talk to you.

--It's hard to work on the WIP during baseball playoffs.

--Writing is hard work, but it's the work I love to do almost more than any other.

--Good coffee is essential for good writing.

--Taking a break from a WIP is *not* the kiss of death.

--Thinking your writing is crap goes with the territory.

--Thinking your writing is great goes with the territory.

--Just not at the same time.

--I write for myself, though I hold onto the promise of a reader like the gold at the end of the rainbow.

--Writing is hard work. (I know, I said that one already.)

I'm sure there are other things I can and will add to this list.

How are you doing on your million?


  1. bravo!! my hat is off to you,, i wish i had the stick to it to produce full length fiction at all,, let alone with the drive you do.. i am not a "prayer" but i will keep positive thoughts about you and all of your endeavors,, you so deserve a slot in the publishing market!!!!!

  2. Now that's an accomplishment!

    Hmmm ... I'm sure I've written a cool 10K in poems, maybe more if you count my poetry attempts.

    And I hate the revision process. I know it's not a dirty word but it should be. That's my least favorite part of the process. I consider it a necessary evil.

    (card-carrying member of the Lisa Cohen's fan club)