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Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Good Day's Work

“Treat writing as a job. Be disciplined. Lots of writers get a bit OCD-ish about this. Graham Greene famously wrote 500 words a day. Jean Plaidy managed 5,000 before lunch, then spent the afternoon answering fan mail. My minimum is 1,000 words a day – which is sometimes easy to achieve, and is sometimes, frankly, like shitting a brick, but I will make myself stay at my desk until I've got there, because I know that by doing that I am inching the book forward. Those 1,000 words might well be rubbish – they often are. But then, it is always easier to return to rubbish words at a later date and make them better.”—Sarah Waters

Five hundred words a day, five thousand, one thousand – it’s not the number of words on the page (unless you’re doing NaNoWriMo this month, in which case the magic number is 1,667), it’s the consistency and self discipline. Treat it like a job and keep at it until the whistle blows, even when it’s not a good day. If you need to, get dressed for work when you sit down to write. Inspiration will strike more often and more predictably when you consistently show up at the page ready to work.

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