08 January 2011

Pick up the Pen and Write

When I first got started writing, I heard all sorts of numbers on what one needed to do in order to be a published writer. A big one said to write 1000 words a day. One source said write 10 pages a day (which works out to 2500 words a day if you figure 250 words per page.) Another source suggested counting lines of text, such that you needed to write at least sixty lines a day (two pages of college ruled paper a day, single sided.) After listening to all these different numbers, my head spun. I read books regarding the subject, and they offered the same points. Then I realized what the most important point they all tried to make was.

You have to write.

I’ve talked to people who have had this great story idea. Great! Then I learn that they are talking all about their idea, but never putting the idea on paper. If I asked them when they’d sit and write the idea down, they’d claim they have no talent, or that they had no time. Ideas are good for writers, only if they make use of said ideas.

Back during the start of my writing journey, I felt intimidated by the blank page. Required numbers ran past my eyes instead of my writing ideas. The requirements of all those words, lines, or pages hid the words from my ability to put them to a page. I would go for weeks, sometimes months, without ever placing a word on the page. Because I knew that writing was a solitary occupation, I listened and read. After years, I found a candle in the darkness and gained perspective. It hit me finally that I never made the writing journey mine. I tried to fit my personality into the mold of someone else’s plot and plan. Since I wasn’t a ghost writer, this didn’t work for me.

This biggest secret of any writer is that they write. Some writers complain about the time they spend advertising their published books, the time it takes to send out their submissions. Their complaint is because it drags them away from their writing. Most writers get into the field because they enjoy putting the words on the paper.

When you start on your journey, do not expect to have the prolific output of Stephen King or Kevin J Anderson. They have been at it longer than I have and they developed a system that works for them. The big thing you need to do is to write.

Open a notebook, start a file in your word processor. Begin your story.

Don’t worry about how many words you write that first session, or for the first three weeks after that. Just keep writing. Once you’ve gone three weeks, you’ll develop the habit of writing. During those three weeks, try to work at the same time, the same place. If you have a place and it doesn’t allow the writing to flow, find a new place. With this technique, you’ll have days where you fill pages on pages of writing. Sometimes, you may only write five words.

That’s fine, you wrote something and that is the most important part.

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