Friday, February 02, 2007

One Thousand Words a Day

Just do it! Just write 1,000 words a day.

This advice is standard fare--I don't know how many books I've read that recommend, well, demand it. What to be a real writer? Write 1,000 words a day, for starters.

I've tried . . . I can't remember how many times, and failed--every time. I get my writing done,
somehow, the deadline work at least. The book I'm writing? Uh, not.

But browsing through the 800s in the library the other day, I came across Making a Literary Life by Carolyn See. This might help some of my students, I thought, and tossed it onto my checkout pile.

Skimming it at home, I got hooked. See's humor, character portraits, irreverence--even for the creative process--made me laugh out loud. And her matter-of-fact "It's only four pages a day, five days a week. It won't kill you. You can't 'fall behind' and you can't 'get ahead.' Every day is a new one thousand words.

"Saturday is for errands, Sunday for rest, picnics, spiritual renewal. That's the way it's supposed to be. For the rest of your life. Or until you get tired of it. But wouldn't it be wonderful if you didn't get tired of it?"

Something feels different this time. I have a book to write and I'm getting to it--every day, 1,000 words. We'll see.

I think it's See's ebullient levity that stands out. Hey, it's just life. It's just words. It's just 1,000 of them a day, five days a week.

Got to go. Time to write.

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