Tuesday, March 22, 2011

1 million plus words?!

A couple of months ago, I read somewhere that you're not a true writer until you've written at least 100,000 words.  I can't remember where I read this and I remember that whoever wrote it couldn't remember where they had heard it either, but I found it interesting.  

Since I've been writing for as long as I can remember, I figure I hit 100,000 words before I even reached my 20s.  I toyed with the idea of going through all the stories I had on my computer and tallying up the word counts but that would just be an exercise in procrastination and I don't need any more excuses to procrastinate.  I was curious about one particular story though.... 

I've mentioned before that my ex and I were writing partners - we wrote a novel together and we wrote a few dozen short - and not-so-short - stories together.  When we first started writing together, we started a story just for fun, something we both agreed would never see the light of day but that was just sort of a writing exercise.  I can't remember how long we worked on it, probably a year or more on and off, and I knew it was long but I had NO idea just how long.  I had sort of put it out of my mind because we put so much of ourselves into it, things we hoped for our own future, but in the form of fiction, so it was kind of painful to think about it, but my curiosity was driving me nuts.  I found it today and stuck it in WordPerfect and I swear my lungs stopped working when the numbers finally stopped rolling well past 1 million.  I had forgotten that it was 120+ chapters, which in itself is kind of insane, but over a million words??

So between that, the 50 or more short stories we wrote, the novel we wrote together, the two novels I've written on my own, countless short stories, articles and essays, and the novel I'm working on now, I can't even begin to imagine how many words I've written.  It's exciting to know that I have that much in me, along with ideas for countless other stories and novels.  I've always said I was born to be a writer - I'm not sure of much else in life, but I'm 100% sure of that.

As for the new novel, I'm plodding away.  I'm on the fourth chapter, I've done about 7,000 words so far.  I'm having some trouble with it - I'm not really sure where it's going.  I know where I want it to go eventually, I'm just having a bit of trouble getting there and making it interesting.  As I'm writing, I keep thinking about the second novel I wrote, the one I'd love to have published eventually, and thinking that maybe I should go back and start working on it.  It's finished in the sense that it's a complete story from beginning to end, but it needs a lot of work and about another 25-30,000 words to make it full novel length.  I was 20 when I wrote it and couldn't see any ways to flesh it out, but after 7 years of writing experience and life experience, I think I know how to change it, add to it and make it better.  So I'm not quite sure what to do - stick with the new novel and see where it takes me, or go back to the old one and work on it.  The novel I wrote when I was 20 is like my baby - I'm so proud of it, I love the characters and the idea for the story, and the few people I let it read it when it was complete loved it, too.  So I guess I might be leaning toward working on that one...

Whatever I decide to do, I'm having fun with the process.  I'd been concentrating so much on writing articles that I was missing fiction, but didn't want to take the time away from writing articles.  Now I know that I need to find balance and make time to do both.


  1. Thanks for following my blog and for joining us in the A to Z Challenge. It's great writing exercise and good for networking with other bloggers so I think you will find it of benefit to you.
    Sounds like you have been a busy writer so this Challenge should be a breeze.

    Have fun with it.

    Tossing It Out
    Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

  2. Finding balance is the hardest part for me, I struggle with it constantly. I love your blog colors, very happy! I look forward to your posts on the A to Z Challenge!


  3. I can't wait for the challenge, Lee!

    Thank you Karen! I'm discovering more and more that a lot of people struggle with finding balance, and I have to say, it makes me feel better that I'm not the only one! lol


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