The bulk of the “successful author” interviews I’ve been reading in magazines talk about how they force themselves to write 1500 words per day when they are writing. What struck me as odd is that so many seem to be tossing out this exact number. It is almost as if the magazines themselves agreed on that number and stick it into every interview article.
Perhaps these writers don’t partake of nicotine, caffeine and booze? Mayhap the publishing industry won’t exist if they raise taxes on any of these. Okay, they can raise taxes on coffee all they want since that is the beverage of the damned, but not the other sources of caffeine. We’ve all read the statements and seen the television commercials which talk about how Hemingway was “at his best in the morning”. If you actually read up about Hemingway you will find that he was thought/known to be an alcoholic and that he smoked various forms of tobacco. The TV commercials simply didn’t finish out the sentence: “Hemingway was at his best in the morning when he was imbibing caffeine and nicotine to get rid of the hang over.”
I gave up nicotine years ago, not because it was ruining my life or health, but because they jacked the tax on it yet again. I have noticed that my writing, when I have time to write, doesn’t come as easily without it. Oh, I have things to say, but I simply can’t “chase a roll”. When I was writing “The Minimum You Need to Know to Be An Application Developer” it was nothing for me to write 18-26 hours at a stretch. I’m working on four books right now and haven’t managed to put more than a four hour stretch into any of them. I have to jump to a different project rather than chase a roll.
Maybe They Cannot Type?
What really strikes me about 1500 word comment is how unrealistic it sounds. Just a little while ago I completed the blog entry. According to the editor the article weighed in around 1300 words. I didn’t spend 45 minutes on the thing. This article will weigh in at more than a few hundred. The question which keeps haunting my mind is “Do they hate what they are writing or is it simply because they cannot type?”
If you know how to type and write what you love 1500 words ought to spill out of you in an hour, not a day. We have soft touch keyboards. Hemingway had a manual typewriter.
Greg has written a great article about writing and Hemingway.