All writers have a process that allows them to create. However, the art of "Writing" is often mistaken for that "Process." Hopefully this blog explains the difference, and inspires people to develop their crafts, become writers, or just keep on writing.

Monday, March 11, 2024

One Word at a Time

For those of you who have not been keeping track at home, this is officially my 500th post on this site. Yes -- 500 times where I've logged on, told a little story and tied it in to writing and developing your personal writing process. Over the course of that time I have discussed a pretty wide variety of writing subject, a few not-so-writey topics, and plenty that might've been better off rewritten. However, the tally just hit 500, so it's time to say exactly what that means.

First - for those of you who started reading this blog in 2018, you are very much appreciated. I get comments, IMs, and plenty of spam, but the personal comments mean the most to me. Second, for those who have jumped in at some point after this site's premier launch, well, you have some catching up to do. If you can wait a bit, however, you might be able to get a good overview in the book that will come from all this, "How to Be a Writer in 400 Easy Steps (give or take)." That's a working title, but if I can ever gather all my content, I think it's getting the green light.

However, here's one of the biggest takeaways from this blog, and it's one that you could've very easily overlooked. You see, each one of these posts runs about 500-600 words. Over the course of 500 entries, that amounts to at least a quarter-million words typed through a twice-weekly creative exercise. One-quarter of a million at minimum, mind you. That's a pretty huge amount of writing, all taking place over the course of a couple of hours every week. 

Now think about this: What if you kept a writing journal, and wrote in it 2-3 times a week? Just writing a discussion of your day, reflections about some interaction, or just reflecting about something or another counts as writing. Just a couple of entries every week over a few years builds up a lot of writing experience, and with minimal loss of time. This is how we become writers. It might seem simple, but the key is to set aside a little time... and write! The more you do it, the better you get at it, and the easier it is to do so you do it more. Before you know it, you have a few journals tucked away full of whatever you wanted to write about, and your skills are that much better for having done it.

A number of years ago, I discussed, "Million-Word Theory" in a previous post-Thanksgiving entry. If you don't want to read the whole thing (which you should, since it is good and I need the clicks), it suggests that you need one-million written words under your belt to really have a writing voice. This being said, we don't hit that goal all at once, but rather approach it word by word, making our way toward it through a bunch of little steps. Journal entries, random poems and essays we write, and just the things we create for no other purpose than to stretch out our writing muscles. Chances are, nine out of every ten of those words won't be particularly amazing, but they will develop a certain set of skill so that by the end of the million-word march, You know how to find the special one out of ten that really works. And at that point, you have no other choice but to call yourself a writer.

So, for those of you who have been along for the first 500 posts, I hope you enjoyed the ride. And for all the newcomers, well, hold on tight - the next 500 should be fun.     

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