Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One Million Words- A Writer's Goal

I've seen the number one million on the web before, as in, a writer needs to write one million words to attain a level of competency in the field. I was recently reminded of this by Karen Woodward when she replied to a comment I made on her blog.

I like numbers. I decided to avoid calculus in high school my senior year and take a third study hall- kind of ended my desire to pursue higher mathematics at that point for aimless wandering and directionless drifting, but, I still like numbers.

One million words, that's a big number and nothing complex about breaking that down. No idea how many words I've scribbled and cobbled and tossed out over the years. I have no desire to try to piece that information together at this point, either. Quarter million seems fair, but of those, only ten percent wouldn't leave me mortified to have people read at this point.

I guess that might be the point. The first million are practice, the red coals that torture us in the fiery furnace that we writers use to pound shape into what we hope to become; tools our minds utilize to create something greater than the source material.

All that to say, I'm probably far off at this stage of my life and writing a blog, one post at a time, that is a slow road to one million, friends. If I average four hundred words per post and don't miss any days?

Over five years. Non-stop blogging for more than five years. That assumes, of course, that I don't write anything but my blog, which is not the case, and yet, it illustrates an important point:

There is nothing casual about this business of writing. No shortcuts. There is nothing but the grind.

Thanks to Karen Woodward for reminding me of this fact as I did the math after her post and realized where, roughly, I stood and more important, where I want to stand.

Where do you want to stand?

Because really, one million may get you competent, but how many words do you need for greatness?

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