My target is to write 1000 words a day. I know, this is a paltry standard compared to some. This is usually an hour and a half of work. H. Bedford Jones, the pulp star of the 1920s, claimed to write 4-5 hours a day. He said once he wrote a 25,000 word novel in one day and had it published with no editing besides basic proofreading. L. Ron Hubbard wrote 100,000 words a month by working 9 hours a week, and had an over 90% publication rate. Charles Dickens wrote all his works in long hand, and he was probably the fastest writer of all.
But while a writer should push himself, he should also pay attention to his creativity in doing so. To me, sometimes I will write 800 words and I just know it’s the time to stop. That I need to recharge my writing process.
How do I recharge?
As soon as I’m done writing I start thinking about the next days work. I will at least put my attention on that part in the story. Or I will let the film roll and watch the movie I’m making in my own mind.
It’s hard to say how long I spend on my writing each day. I think about my upcoming writing a lot. I’ve started keeping the radio off in the car and using that time to put my mind on my story.
I have experienced many pleasurable things in my life. I have loved my family, my work, my faith. For personal pleasure I took hour long hikes, played basketball for hours, lifted weights until my biceps bulged and my shoulders hurt. My walks are very limited now, basketball and weightlifting are long in the past. Now my great personal pleasure is writing. Sometimes I think writing is the bravest thing I have ever done, and this comes from someone who used to crawl into burning buildings. In writing or most art you are the creator of a new world.
When I wrote my first Dark Spirit novel I was criticized for using a 17 year old girl as my protagonist. In my next Dark Spirit novel, I was criticized for using a 15 year old gay male as my antagonist. What did I possibly know of these people? Well, people are people, they are children of God and their physical form is but a costume, their identity in life is just a role they play. My job is to get in their heads and see the world as they would see it.
I am so exciting about the book currently in progress, The Girl From Outer Space. When I started I knew the basic idea that I wanted the story to follow, but I didn’t know which type of characters were going to work out their parts. A black firefighter seemed to fit the bill for my flawed hero. But I asked myself the same question: what right did I have to get in his head, myself being an old white guy? That’s all I needed to get started, that idea that maybe it shouldn’t be done. When I hear that voice of self doubt I just shout back in his direction and run right at it.