I am about to announce my first “officially” published work, as I was lucky enough to team up with an up and coming indie of the publishing world, and I found myself thinking about the path that led me here.
Part of my intellectual process is to understand patterns very easily and part of my spiritual search is to understand the origin of such patterns (or paths) and their influence on the person I am today.
It is often said that any artist who’s “made it” had to fail time and time again in order to learn and grow. I can only say that the clichés are true as I was trying to figure out how many pages I had written and scrapped before getting to this point.
I did a pretty complete breakdown of everything I could think of between being a geek writing his own role-playing games when I was in fourth grade and looking into a chunk the huge market of mystery writing. (soon to be announced officially.)
3 role-playing games – say 90 pages total
4 short stories in high school – say 20 pages total.
2 personal essays in junior college – 80 pages total.
5 “short” political dissertations – 200 pages total.
20 smaller college works – 8 to 12 pages – say 160 pages total.
(I’m not even gonna count all the weekly 2 to 7 pages assignments)
About 50 songs (music and/or lyrics) – 50 pages total
1 really bad script – 90 pages
1 really bad novel idea – 60 pages
2 full length plays – 120 pages total
1 short movie script – 6 pages
1 good full length movie script – 100 pages
3 novels : say 800 pages
1 self-made translation : 140 pages
2 poetry collections : 160 pages
4 years of curating texts for the MainLine Gala for Student Gala.
An unspecified amount of arts events and designs
Plus plans for a series of 5 graphic novels which I have yet to count…
2166 pages of “unsuccessful” or DIY writing to get here. At least 420 pages of which I literally scrapped. Most of it I used but have yet to pay out and some if it I actually look to make small amounts of money from.
I’m not even counting the letters, proposals and blog posts.
@250 words a page, that’s over half a million words I wrote before I got a book deal. (541 500 to be precise)
(With all the proposals, treatments, blog posts, letters, homework, submissions… I’m confident I’ve hit the million words by now… but let’s stick to manageable figures for now.)
So I guess the message is this, If you write every day, or even every week. If you started young because it felt natural to you, keep doing it. Half a million words and counting…that’s what it takes.
If that number scares you, you should probably do something else.
“Until you die or it dies in you” – Charles Bukowski.