They, of course, were mind boggled when they had to write a 500 word report for English class in high school.
And here I write a hundred thousand words or so on something.
What they don’t know is the hell I went through to get to the point where I could write a hundred thousand words or so.
I did all sorts of exercises, made ’em up myself, but they all worked, and you will never find them in any kind of school. They are just out there.
One of them, one of the more mild ones, was when I decided to write a 200 page book in two days. Mathematically speaking, that’s about 50,000 words in 24 hours.
I bought a ream of paper, a container of white out (this was back in the day, white out doesn’t work too well on the computer. Makes the screen all white, you know.
Anyway, at eight in the morning I slipped a piece of paper into my electric typewriter, and I was off.
The wife and kids were gone, and, in quick order, so was I.
I didn’t have an outline, I was just winging it, and I pecked those keys like nobody’s business. I should probably admit, right here, that at that time I was stuck between using one or two fingers. Couldn’t make up my mind. Made for lots of confusion.
I think I ate lunch, not sure, but at eight that night I threw in the towel.
I was actually pretty dragged out, hard to walk, dizzy, the world was like living on the inside of a smudge pot.
Next day, eight o’clock, I hit the keys. Lunch? What was that. I don’t think I even had a radio. I just kept typing.
And, at eight that night, I pulled page 200 out, stretched my aching back, and wondered what the world was.
I mean, I really wondered. I felt like the insides of a burlap sack, and my mind was plain and simple dazed.
Yet, I had done it.
Of course, the book was terrible. Had more typos than a herd of dogs has fleas.
But, the odd thing, the grammar and structure held up. Sure, a couple of run on sentences here, a few participles dangled…but it was logical, cohesive, held thought, presented thought in linear manner, and was done.
And, from that time on, I was different as a writer. I had jumped into the crucible, and been poured out. Writing large amounts of words for long amounts of time didn’t bother me. And, truth, I actually enjoyed it. In later years I would type for twelve or fourteen hours at a time, and come out fresh and cheerful.
The first time was the breaker. That was the one. After living through that, everything else was perfume and roses.
Anyway, I write about writing, and the exercises I did that enabled me to create a genre (martial Arts novel) and write books having more than just a couple of hundred thousand words in them. Somebody emails me ten bucks, asks for ‘Blood & Ink, and I will send them the book.
Heck, just doing a few of the exercises in that book will make one into a world class, hard core, never get butt sore writer.
As far as that book that I wrote? I threw it away. It was just an exercise, after all.