One-Million Practice Words
I dream to be a writer the same way many people dream to be actors, I would love to do it but I know the chance of success is incredibly small. Even still I dabble from time to time and try my hand at the odd prose here and there.
There are two sayings that I'll be focusing on here, and the first is:
My advice to the young writer is likely to be unpalatable in an age of instant successes and meteoric falls. I tell the neophyte: Write a million words–the absolute best you can write, then throw it all away and bravely turn your back on what you have written. – David Eddings
I've heard this before but hadn't focused on this little part here:
the absolute best you can write
I half-heard the quote and thought: A million words? Yeah I can do that. If I do four stories of 50,000 words a year then I can be done in five years!
I don't know what prompted me to reread the quote but then I saw it. The absolute best you can write. This wasn't just a numbers game, it was about solid effort too. I imagine if I did write out a million words then I would indeed get a bit better. But if I wanted to really excel then I needed to up my game.
I don't know how long this will take, which brings me nicely to the next saying I want to focus on:
The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now. – Chinese Proverb
While this is obviously overused today I feel it still tackles part of my issue I have with long term practice. I am thirty-four years old. There have been countless people who were older than me when they made their debut as professional authors, but it is still hard not to compare myself to those the same age who have already made it, or worse, those younger than me.
I look at those that are successful and the self-doubt creeps in. They started younger. They have a talent you don't. They have more practice. They made their name before the flood of GPT generated stories drowned the market.
Well that doesn't matter and I still want to be an author. Even if I never sell a book I think that would be better than not trying at all. To this end I will state publicly my life goal here:
I will be a full-time author ten years from now. – Lenny, 2023
So, here I go. This is me starting from word zero. My current goal is to write a fifty-thousand word novel of my best work in two months. Similar to a NaNoWriMo challenge but at the end I should have a polished story.
P.S. Got any good writing book recommendations? I'm currently reading “Write Worlds Your Readers Won't Forget” by Stant Litore and I think it's amazing!
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Or email me at blog (at) lennys (dot) quest.