I remember reading somewhere that it took 1,000,000 words written to become a good writer. Don’t ask me where I read it. I can’t remember.
Why 1,000,000? Why not 100,000? Why not half a million? What is so magical about the number one million?
I don’t think there is anything magical about that number. Yes, writing breeds competence, but only if you write competently. If you write garbage, you are only going to get better at writing garbage. “Me want food” is not good writing. Writing stuff like that for a million words won’t make you a better writer. You have to consciously work at getting better to improve.
The biggest thing I get from this is that it takes time and practice to become a good writer. Good writers are not born, they are made. We have to work at our craft to become good writers.
Notice I said “good”. We merely need to try to be the best we can be, not the best Stephen King or Mary Higgens Clark can be. We have to be true to our own writing while doing those million words.
Yes, it takes a while. If we only write the 50,000 words in November every year, it would take us 20 years to reach that million words. But we don’t have to only write in November. Writers don’t have a set time of the year to write and not write at any other time. Sure, set times are good, but we can write anytime we feel the urge. It might not be appropriate to do so, but we can do it. We can even write sitting on the john.
Don’t go telling your significant other I told you to write on the john. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying not to limit yourself. If you want to be a good writer, then write. Don’t let anyone stop you.