Lots of Words
As a continuation of my theme of necessary things for writers, I give you the following quote:
“Start early and work hard. A writer’s apprenticeship usually involves writing a million words (which are then discarded) before he’s almost ready to begin. That takes a while.” David Eddings
This is something I have had in the back of my mind since I began to take my writing seriously. The more words, the better I am at writing. I think I started too late.
As I sit down to write my only goal is to get the words on paper. There are times when I have to remind myself that shitty first drafts (thanks Anne Lamott) are a necessary part to writing. It isn’t about writing a masterpiece the moment you have a blank page in front of you.
“Read a lot; write a lot.” This advice comes from Stephen King in On Writing. These words are also in the back of my mind especially when I’ve gone a few days without reading something. I write every day and try to read everyday. I must confess when I run out of time it is my reading that suffers. In the days before the internet and all of the writing courses, people learned to write by reading others. This is still necessary.
Writing involves sitting down and putting one word in front of another word until the page is full. That is all there is to it. It is the irritatingly the most simple and yet the most difficult thing that I do each day. I am still working on my million words.
Where are you on this million plus word journey?
Your last paragraph is spot on! So many accomplished writers say the same thing: just go sit and write. And yet, it can be soooooo hard! It’s mystifying, and yet true for so many of us. Maybe part of it is we know that a lot of the writing we produce is simply practice; it won’t “go” anywhere, and that can be discouraging. But like your first quotation says, you’ve got to write those practice pieces to build the skills for the work other will want to read.
Absolutely. The words can only get better and better. Thanks for stopping by.