Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A page a day

Time Spent: 3 hours

I wasn't feeling up to writing today, so went to Barnes and Noble to look at writer's magazines and literary journals. I came home with two magazines and two journals.

I spent my time today reading all of the first magazine, the Writer's Digest Writer's Yearbook 2006, and about half of the second, Writer's Journal. I came away with a lot from both.

I'll be honest, this is the first time I've really sat down and read things like this specifically for writers. Up until a year ago, writing was something that I dreamed of doing full time, but never really imagined myself actually doing for a living. I've had that same dream since I was about fifteen, but it took a huge vacation about the time I was seventeen and started thinking about "real life" and "being practical." It wasn't until an extra credit assignment last spring led me to a lot more belief in my abilities. So now I'm reading writer's magazines! What a huge step for me.

At the very end of WD Writer's Yearbook 2006, there is an article by Chelan David called, "Five Tips for Getting Published." Step Four is "Think How-to: Write about what you learn." (WY2006, 72) I wanted to insert that quote because it is SO appropriate for the AST. Now on to other things.

Most impressive thing in Writer's Yearbook 2006? "The Best 101 Web Sites for Writers" is definitely something I'll be checking out in the next few days. And I'm on the right track with my research - I've visited a few of these web sites already (including Toasted Cheese, which came in under online writing and critique groups). It's great to know that I really AM doing something positive when it comes to researching places to submit to.

But I also read something that really put this in perspective for me. Writer's Journal has an article titled, "Beating Procrastination: Adopt and Adapt an Ad." (Dennis E. Hensley) Hensley says, "Write even one page a day and you'll wind up with a 365-page book at the end of the year." (WJ, 14) This made me stop and think about it immediately, and even comment on it to my husband. I think about all the great books I've read, some of them longer than this by double, and the writers are doing more than that in a day. An example: JK Rowling's Harry Potter series. "The Order of the Phoenix" was well over 700 pages long itself and was released in 2003. Two years later (only two years!), in 2005, "The Half Blood Prince" was released - it was shorter than its predecessor, but it was still well over 700 pages long. And Rowling took time off to have a her third child during that time. There's also the issue of revisions, a trip to the publisher's, printing time and a release date, all of which took probably five to six months. So let's say that in the two years between the releases, Rowling really only had, at most, a year and a half to write her sixth book. And that doesn't count maternity leave - let's say another three months for that, leaving a total of fifteen months to write a 700+ page novel. That's a good two pages a day plus (my math is off, I'm just guessing), and I'm sure that she took a day off during the week as well, and probably had those days where she just couldn't imagine sitting in front of a computer (if you've ever been pregnant, you understand), so that's probably a daily average of four to six pages. Here's the lesson learned from all that perspective (and it's quite a lot of it): Be consistent, even, as Hensley says, if it's only a page a day.

So I feel silly for skipping the writing today, but on the plus side, I did three or four pages yesterday, so I'm not going to worry about it too much.

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