The One Million Words conundrum …

This one’s a bit of a headfrak.  One million words … really?

The theory is, (by whoever) that a writer needs to write a million words before they are any good.  This is a rule made for breaking of course, as all rules are.  Many first time authors get their breaks, and we’re all left envious from the sidelines, wondering, hold on, what about the one million word rule?

But a million words?  I really don’t thing I’ve cracked that milestone yet.  Maybe half a million, two-thirds … How does one go about counting all the words one has creatively written over a whole lifetime, like all those ones I had on the green-screen word-processor that is now rotting in some rubbish dump?

And then there’s the Meta-answer?  Is the number just a symbol?

Of course it is.  It’s the hill to climb, the novel unwritten, the lessons learnt.  Ability isn’t measured by success (whisper-whisper Dan brown)  But just like they say in Throw Mama From the Train ‘A writer writes. Always.’  Which does suggest that a million words should be quite easy, over a whole lifetime

Learning these hill-walking tricks, survival techniques, guideropes (and just to exhaust the simile), pitfalls, is what the million words is about.  Kicking some literature butt.  Pulling on tour boots again when you dont want to, when its cold, when there are other things to do … Putting one letter in front of another until you get to the end of your endurance.

And then doing the same again a day later.


About gethinmorgan

Writer, baker, beard bon viveur. And single-dad of three precocious little Jedi. Single father, Catan Addict, and writer.
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2 Responses to The One Million Words conundrum …

  1. Ellie says:

    Are you trying to make me depressed? Seriously, I think these ‘ideas’ are put forth to discourage writers in an effort to eliminate the competition.

    Like you I have no idea how many words I have written, nor do I want to know. I measure my success by my standards. As in, how many pieces I have completed that I am happy to share with the world. Sure, the two ‘books’ I have seen through to self publish status are achievements, but neither fill me with ecstatic joy. However, i have some gems of 100% pure creative writing that i would always put forward if someone wanted to judge my true ability.

    One million words? Sometimes all it takes is an idea.

  2. grumphy says:

    Agreed. But a million words isn’t much when you consider the blog, the twitter, the reviews, hell, even the comments. Reading some people’s blogs, (the ones so much better than mine) it becomes apparent that I treat my words too preciously, as if they are worth a penny a piece, instead of writing as much as I can and getting it all out there, and just getting noticed/befriended/derided etc
    But yeah, one idea … if only I could finish one! 🙂

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