The Part-time Writer

I used to follow the “three•pages•a•day” maxim as a writer and thought I was doing okay. Most wannabe writers average that quotidian output (at least, that’s what I hear from writer’s circles and other groups that I haunt for company and when my battered authorly ego needs emotional, unconditional hugs). I had a day job that exercised my left brain and three pages a day was a good balance to harness the right side of my grey cell repository. Or so I thought. Then I looked at what it took to get published – like competing in the Olympics these days, because there is no more room left for mediocrity; some publishers, especially small guys, fail because a single book bombs. And how long do Olympic athletes practise to make it to the Games, let alone win medals? Ten years? With an average of five hours per day of practice? Allowing for weekends and holidays off, that would be about five hours x 220 days x 10 years = 11,000 hours
So let’s do the math backwards now. Three pages a day takes about an hour to write (if you go longer, you are probably editing, or writing a lot of crap). So I would need 11,000 working days (writers take weekends and holidays off too to recharge) – that would be 50 years! I’d be a posthumous writer! And that too, only if my progeny do not forget to publish the manuscripts sitting as part of their inheritance! Given how paltry that inheritance will be, they may be apt to burn those damned papers that I laboured over so much instead of doing a real job and earning my estate some real money.
So the unfortunate message I have for all you wannabe writers is – crank up the gas and keep writing, if you want to see your books in print before you die (self•publishing excluded, of course).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *