I’ve said it before, but writing is a game of small victories. Most are victories only in the writer’s own mind, too. Certainly there are larger victories like short story or poetry publication or, the ultimate, book publication, but those are usually off-ramps while the small victories are mile markers on the…um…highway of success. Yup, it’s a metaphor.

The writing game is unlike most in that it’s almost completely solitary. It’s tough to walk that lonely road sometimes when it doesn’t seem like you’re getting anywhere (I’m still going with the highway metaphor). Sure, there’s writing groups and MFA programs and conferences, but, when it comes down to it, the actual writing is you in front of your computer or typewriter or yellow legal pad putting words on the screen or paper. It’s not really a group activity so a majority of the motivation has to be self-directed. Most people don’t just write a book and have it published instantaneously (unless that is how it’s done and I’m just doing it wrong). It’s a long journey so the self-created goals and victories are important so it doesn’t seem like you’re running in place.

I’ve always considered myself to be a workhorse writer. I certainly don’t think I’m some sort of naturally-gifted wordsmith or savant or anything like that. If I’m a better writer than someone else, it’s probably because I’m working harder than that person. One of my goals every year is to log at least 1000 hours (my writing year starts in June). I’m happy to announce I just cleared the 1K-hour writing mark for the year, bringing my cumulative writing hour total to over 3000 writing hours (Since June 1, 2010). Sometimes I doubt whether that old cliché that working hard will get you to your goal (more often it seems to be a case of knowing the right people), but I’m willing to test the hypothesis. The words are starting to accumulate physical weight. Sometimes I get tired carrying them around in addition to dozens of characters and plot strands and settings and everything else I strap to my back with each new story. I find myself exhausted at times…

Still, I shall trudge on to the next thousand hours of writing time. If the popular theory is correct and it takes 10,000 hours to master something, then in another 2000 words I should be a half-decent writer.




~ by themoderntranscendentalist on May 12, 2013.

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