In the most recent post, Elisa Lorello (the author of three books) has summarised some of the best and worst advice she has been given. She mentions, in passing, an author called Nancy Peacock who had 'written a memoir about how she had made a living cleaning houses'. I just love the sound of Nancy Peacock. First of all, there's her name. But I also love her story. There are an awful lot of writers making a living doing something other than writing. I'm glad she got a book out of it.
If you'd like a hint about how to up your word count, take a look at a post by another contributor to the site, Jeffrey Robinson. He explains how he writes 4,000 words a day. If you're not a writer and you're wondering, 1,000 a day is considered pretty good going and is quite standard. More productive writers can manage 2,000 words a day. I know a few who do 4,000 a day but it almost kills them. I have managed up to 15,000 a couple of times - I mean, literally, only on a couple of days when I was in a kind of blissful state of productiveness. I think it was in November 2008 during the last phase of a waxing moon when I was midway through a book I loved. Mostly I do around 32 words a day. I aim for 1,000.
I only count what goes into the manuscript (not notes, blog posts, FB updates or Twitter) and I only put the words into the manuscript once I have worked them up in an online notebook because I hate, hate, hate (no, seriously, I loathe) having to cut words from the manuscript, although in the editing stage that will inevitably happen. I usually gain words then, overall, so I don't mind editing.
Actually, the editing/polishing stage is my favourite. I don't like the bit before I start writing, where I have to work out what has to happen. I don't like the writing stage unless I come up with a particularly good line, in which case I celebrate by dancing in my kitchen. I like going over what I have already written and admiring it and making it better. But I can't do that unless whatever goes into the manuscript is pretty good already, which is why I work it up elsewhere.
But Jeffrey Robinson is right. In order to create, all you have to do is daydream. It's just that so few of us have the chance to do that, given that normal live gets in the way.
If you're reading this and you're writing or you're thinking about writing and you're not yet published, good luck. And if you're already published well, hello! It's tough, isn't it? Why doesn't it get any easier? See you on Twitter.