There are several opinions floating around as to what a writer must first do before he becomes accomplished at the art of writing.
One opinion is that he must practice for 10,000 hours before he can be called an expert. This theory was put forward by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, in which he basically states that any prodigy, genius or auteur has to first put in 10,000 hours of labor before he can be considered a master of his craft.
A second theory (attributed to Marion Zimmer Bradley) is that the first million words you write will be crap. Stephen King also said that everybody has ten awful novels inside them that they have to choke out first before they manage to write something decent.
So let’s do a little math, and see how much work it would take for somebody (i.e. me) to become an expert author in a year
1,000,000 words / 12 months = 83,333 words/month. That’s a novel / month.
10,000 hours / 365 days = 27 hours / day spent writing.
Clearly only one of those is possible.
So my thought, my question, my ridiculous pondering: what if I were to declare 2011 the year of my first million crap words?
This is slightly off because I’m in the process of writing my fourth novel, putting me at 280,000 words already (not to count all the other miscellaneous writing I’ve done thus far), but still, the point stands, and the challenge has a certain poetic madness to it if one comes at it clean, divested of all previous accomplishments.
83,333 words / month.
2,740 words / day
It takes me about three hours to write about 3,000 words (I think, I’ve not timed myself). That would come out to about 1,000 hours spent writing for the year.
I don’t know. I could register a website along the lines of myfirstmillion.com and post each day’s writing as it is written. Have a tab for each month, for each novel.
This idea is sufficiently ridiculous that I am seriously considering it. After all, I’ve managed to write consistently at 7,000 words / day in the past. How hard could it be to write 2,740 every day for a year?
Surely that wouldn’t be so hard.