Billy, Don’t Use My Number

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Numbers

Writers love to tell you their word counts.

“Just did 500 words before breakfast!”

“Got my 1,000 words done for the day!”

“30,000 words done on the new novel!”

We take great delight in passing on the numbers we produce. I have been no exception. If you trawled back through my Facebook and Twitter posts, you would find statements similar to those above (though probably not without profanity).

Well, I’m here to tell you that’s all in the past. Aside from those punching the keyboard, no digits will ever again offer any implied measure of my authorial efforts. And if my colleagues on the shelves have a high regard for the craft – as I know they do – they will avoid any future reference to word counts, too.

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The Real Writer – A Do’s and Don’ts Guide #5

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We’ve finished the four Don’ts – time now to have a look at the corresponding Do’s.  First up:

Real writers do the trade every day.

Any number of author voices more resonant than mine have extolled the virtues of turning up.  Stephen King advocated “bum glue”.  Jane Yolen referred to “exercising the writing muscle”.  Lawrence Kasdan suggested “being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life”.  No doubt engaging with your story on a daily basis is a must.  But what’s the deal for emerging authors: the folks who are chasing creativity behind jobs and kids and mortgages and slush piles and rejection slips,  whose days are invariably full while their pages are often empty?

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