It’s always fun when I’m going about my business and somehow randomly come upon something that’s relevant to something I’ve written recently. Of course, the chances of this are fairly high. There are certain things I’m interested in and read and it’s no surprise that they should occasionally occur in proximity.
In this case, I’m talking about a quote from the late Sir Terry Pratchett some 15 years ago that’s referring in a way to the momentum I was speaking of yesterday, but taken to a slightly different level. Emphasis is my own.
I finished … and then I wrote more—and possibly began a work rate which has led to the fact that I am now on blood-pressure pills. I lived in dread of not having work in progress. And I developed the habit of starting a book on the same day as I’d finished the last one. There was one period where I had a schedule of four hundred finished words a day. If I could finish the book in three hundred words, I wrote a hundred words of the next book. No excuses. Granddad died, go to funeral, four hundred words. Christmas time, nip out after dinner, four hundred words. And I did that for years and years and years, because I was fixated on the idea that if you have not got work in progress, you are in fact not a writer at all, you are a bum. And somehow I thought that if I stopped writing, the magic would go away. And I was getting some successes. The books were selling very well. Mort got to no. 2 in the bestseller lists. Sourcery got to no. 1 and stayed in the list for three months. And that started a trend which has continued to this day.
Now, I don’t presume that my writing contains any manner of “magic.” Unlike Terry, I am not a professional writer and my income in no way depends upon success at it. I do it, well, because I can, really. It’s a somewhat therapeutic ongoing dialogue that often reflects what I’m doing or what I’m thinking about. In many ways, it’s also about the discipline of doing it and the impact it has had on me and my choices far outweigh the effort I’ve put into it.
It is by pure random chance though, that his word limit is near mine. He also seems to have taken his far more seriously than I do mine. I aim for approximately 500 words, using the built-in word counter in word press. It includes things I didn’t write, though, like that quote which is around 200 words on its own, but I don’t really worry about that. When it comes time to read something, 500 words is 500 words, regardless of who wrote them. Still, I don’t worry about it much. If I get done saying what I have to say and it’s only 350 then I’ll re-read it to make sure I didn’t forget something and then sign off.
What I really need to work on is making incremental progress on my side projects. I’ve got at least two I’ve mentioned in the last month and neither of them have been worked on recently. Maybe I can sit down and do some of that later, we’ll see.
For now, it’s time for me to wrap it up and turn my attention elsewhere. Y’all take care, and thank you for reading.