A Million Words

I’ve heard it said that you have to write a million words before you start turning out good work. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that I’ve done it. I spent most of my high school career sitting in the back of the class writing novels by hand in notebooks. The first story I remember writing was when I was ten.

It does take a lot of writing (as well as a lot of reading) to find your ‘voice’, whatever that exactly means. To find the way of putting words together that is uniquely yours. And for the tools of writing–grammar, punctuation, dialogue, story structure, characterization, and so forth–to stop being tools and become a gestalt that is part of your hands. For the rules of writing–show don’t tell, watch out for cliches, avoid weasel words, don’t use too many adverbs, and so forth–to stop being rules and become innate guidelines that you have the skill to flaunt where it’s appropriate.

It takes time and practice. It takes the kind of dedication that makes people say, “I can’t imagine not writing, whether people buy it or not… it’s who I am.”

That’s me. It’s who I am. I’ve written a million words–at least a million words.

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