Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Stephen King's Great Commandment...

…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. Once in a while I manage 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 needs to include editing because it’s such an integral part of my writing process. I'm a scroller. 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. Periodically I print out fifty or a hundred pages for a “major” read for story continuity, and of course at the end of the first draft it’s edit, edit, edit. So I think I need to adapt the Great Commandment to my own writing style by saying, “read a lot, write a lot, edit a lot.”

What about you?

Janet Fogg
Janet is the author of Soliloquy, an award-winning historical romance, and co-author of Fogg in the Cockpit.



Anonymous said...

Even editing's writing. ;-]

Patricia Stoltey said...

I'm a binge writer, Janet. I don't even try to make a daily word count, but I do try to set aside blocks of time (like maybe a whole weekend when the Bronco aren't playing), and focus on the novel for as many hours as I can.

Julie Luek said...

I'm with Pat, I can't set up rules that that dictate a word amount. I usually have a list of projects and, for me, they come with deadlines. I use that and then set larger goals. Too much structure feels like a tight turtleneck sweater.