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.