Random thought: Call me, I don’t know, crazy, but there’s such a thing as too much hockey. Just a thought, just throwing it out there, but man, four nights in an ice rink is too much. K’s team lost in a heartbreaker tonight, 6-5, ending their season. It was a great game, they played like champs, but I’m just now getting warm again.

 Anyway. Someone, can’t remember who, said you have to write 500,000 badly written words before you start getting to the good stuff. Like, you have to push all the mush out so you can get to the good clean prose. What wasn’t said is that if you don’t keep writing, if you take a break for a few days or a week, the bad words start building up again and then you are back to where you started.

Take a long enough break and that half a million words full of gunk have built back up again and you have to start the whole process all over again.

Sometimes I think it’s a stupid arbitrary figure anyway, like the one that says you have to fall off a horse 10 times before you can call yourself a horseman (or horsewoman). Please. I think I fell that often my first summer of riding lessons. Who can write half a million words anyway? Aren’t you a pro long before you hit that magic number?

I guess that’s the point — even people who have sold haven’t reached those lofty heights.

Like so much else, every time you think you’ve reached your goal, someone keeps moving it farther out.

Categories: Gordath Wood


Fred Stanton · April 7, 2008 at 12:07 pm

I think it’s worth pointing out that incomplete projects don’t count toward that half-million words. One must complete a project in order to learn from it. If a story throws you somewhere in the middle, you have to get right back on that horse and ride it to the end. Falling off doesn’t count for anything, though it does let you call yourself a tenth of a horseman apparently.

Patrice Sarath · April 7, 2008 at 5:13 pm

That’s a good point. I spent (or wasted) a lot of time getting all revved up and starting a novel or a story and then never could quite garner the same enthusiasm for keeping up the momentum. That gets you nowhere, and you don’t learn the hard part of writing. The part where it isn’t fun or easy.

You have to commit to the muse, or the muse will not commit to you!

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