Monday, September 12, 2011

The Great Commandment, according to Stephen King…

…is “read a lot, write a lot.”

Read a lot? Got that covered. No problem.

Write a lot? Well, in comparison to Stephen King, no. He likes to write ten pages a day, every day, with very few skipped days. His pages are 200 words each, so 2,000 words a day.

Writing 2,000 words a day, even 80% of the time, would be five to eight books a year. NOW you’re talking! Talking the impossible, for me, anyway. I’ve occasionally managed to write 2,000 words a day, but that’s rare. In fact, I’m pleased if I write 500, though 250 isn’t out of the norm, but 2,000? Day after day? Hah!

What about editing? For me, the Great Commandment might have to include editing because it’s such an integral part of my writing process. I call myself a scroller. When I first begin to work each day I scroll back at least a few pages in my manuscript, if not five or six, to read and edit. Then I write new words. Scrolling back immerses me in the story, gets me focused, and reminds me where I left off. Perhaps that’s why I’m not speedy – I spend so much time editing. I also periodically print out fifty or a hundred pages for a “major” read for story continuity, and of course at the end of the draft it’s edit, edit, edit. So I think I need to adapt the Great Commandment to my own writing style by editing it to say, “read a lot, write a lot, edit a lot.”

What about you? Would you edit the Great Commandment?

by Janet Fogg

4 comments:

Giles Hash said...

If I didn't have a day job, I know that I would have enough time to write 2,000 words a day. I seriously doubt that that would leave me with the time to edit them, though. And they probably wouldn't be all that great to start with, so they'd need to be edited and revised to be publishable. So yes, I would edit the commandment. :)

Chiseled in Rock said...

Lets do it! We'll appoint a committee. :)

Lester D. Crawford said...

I work on my writing every day. I write as much as I can every day. The amount I produce varies from a few hundred to a few thousand words every day. I do not let a daily word count worry me or I would worry myself right out of the business.

I wonder if people who produce 2,000 words a day get their words-per-day count by, for example, writing a chapter, rewriting the chapter, editing the chapter, and then when finished, dividing the number of words in the chapter by the number of days from starting to finishing work on the chapter. Because of my verbose nature, I can spout many thousands of words each day, but after finishing rewriting and editing, my words-per-day average drops significantly.

Regarding being a "scroller," I step back maybe one or two dozen pages before continuing ahead. It is true that this helps return me to the story, helps me focus, and helps remind me where I left off, but the real reason I do it is because what I have written is so incredible, I get a thrill out of reading it.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I would be so happy just to reach the goal of writing every day.

Writing 2,000 words a day would put me in a state of ecstasy. The best I've ever done is about 7,000 words a day for two days of retreat (like the one I'll enjoy at a guest ranch the end of this month).