Rules are Meant to be Broken…Right?

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

65. One writing rule you break.

Yes, I am aware that I am past #65 now. I wrote this one in my notebook and forgot to post it. I am not numerically dyslexic. Moving on.

Only one? I really can’t restrict myself to only one broken rule. I’ve already mentioned a dozen or more times that I don’t plan, don’t properly establish my characters and settings ahead of time, and don’t even attempt to pull the plot points together because I usually end up changing them a hundred times. I tend to use too many adjectives, not to mention too many commas and ellipses, and I have, on occasion, been bad for using cliches in my writing. I also have no bloody clue when it comes to proper revision. Hell, I’ve been revising/editing my zombie apocalypse novel for almost two years now…and hey, there’s another broken rule: I hear you’re not supposed to revise and edit at the same time. Who knew?

But if there’s one rule that I break more than all the others combined, it would be the one about having the willpower and dedication to actually sit down and write. Make no mistake, I write a helluva lot more than some people who claim to be writers, but I don’t write nearly enough for someone who claims to wait to be a professional writer.

They say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something. Some quick calculations based on my approximate writing speed therefore tell me that I have to write approximately 7,500,000 words before I might be considered an expert. Now if you subtract words that I’ve written for this blog (approximately 52,000), words I’ve written during NaNoWriMo’s (approximately 240,000) and words I’ve written for various other projects since I first started writing creatively (I’m willing to bet 1,000,000 is a fair estimation for over the past sixteen years or so), that means I still have about 6,208,000 words to go. If I had been more diligent over the years that number would probably be a lot lower. If I had even written 100,000 a year (the equivalent of two NaNoWriMo’s) just since college I would be down to about 5,000,000. The point is, plain and simple, I don’t write enough for someone who wants to be a published author.

I’m trying to fix that via Wildly Improbable Goal #3 (which, in case you forgot, was to write a million words this year). Even if I achieve my goal it will only bring me 16% closer to that “magic number”, but 16% is better than my previous averages, which have been somewhere in the range of 0.96%.

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