Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Why 1000 words a day?

When sharing my frustrations with my girl last night she asked me “Why did you make it 1000 words a day?”  Since those reading this blog might have the same question, I decided to answer it with a post.

1000 words a days is not a completely arbitrary number.  Yes it’s even and round which makes it appealing, but that’s not the only rational.  If I had went for something as measly as 300 words a day, I could have achieved that scrawling on cocktail napkins in a bar.  That would not have made me a better writer.  Same goes for 500 words a day.  Its a better goal, but still not pushing it and definitely bush league. 

With 1000 words a day as my goal I feel like that is a good start for the type of output a professional writer is required to produce in order to keep on track.  Granted, professional writers probably churn out a hell of a lot more than 1000 words per day, but for me it is the entry level requirement.  If I can achieve this then I can begin to seriously consider full time writing as an option.  Until then, it’s just a fantasy.

That’s another reason why I’m shying away from stream of consciousness writing in my posts or stories.  I need to produce the kind of writing that can be molded into readable material, not an overflowing spout of pointless drivel aimed at a word count.  Everything I’m writing is something that another person can read.  Whether or not it’s any good or enjoyable is a different story, but it is definitely readable. 

There are several authors these days that thankfully are a source of inspiration in my endeavor.  Wil Wheaton for his easy to read style that just brings you into the story.  He’s one of the first to make me seriously consider putting more effort into my writing.  John Scalzi for his nonstop output both in books and his blog.  Also easy to read, pulling you into his world be it through post or a story.  Neil Gaiman who’s amazing worlds continue to ensnare me.  American Gods, MirrorMask, Stardust… need I say more?  The one quality that ALL these great authors share is that they are approachable and normal.  They don’t spew prose from an ivory tower.  They don’t boast their accomplishments while crushing others.  They are normal everyday folks weaving tales for a living while still being firmly grounded individuals.  That sort of accessibility is what draws me to them even more and keeps me drinking from their kool-aid. 

I would love to join their ranks one day.  To me this self imposed challenge is the first step in that journey. 

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