2 Add caveat that a million words is no guarantee.
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I'm inclined to invoke the Niven rule (named for well-known science fiction author Larry Niven): "You have to write about a million words of crap before you get to the good stuff." Niven was on record as counting himself lucky, in that he inherited money and was able to write full time, hence getting through his "million words" in a year or so (BTW, that isn't a bad figure for words per year at full time; my partner writes romance, and produces approximately a million words of published work a year).

Of course, if you have to work for a living, it'll take a lot longer -- maybe even much more than the ten year figure from another answer -- to get through your million words. I've been writing when I could for most of forty years, and I'm just now approaching the point where I'm confident I can finish a novel of publication quality -- and even once finished and published, I expect to need to write half a dozen more before my sales get good enough to live on (which will coincide nicely with starting to collect Social Security).

And, of course, some writers will require fewer words, or more (the more attention you pay to the quality of your writing, and the more help you have in the form of editing and critiques, the lower your own figure likely to be). Beyond that, there's no real guarantee you'll "get to the good stuff" after your million words -- it also depends on working at your craft. If you just pump out a million random words, you're unlikely to learn anything about writing in the process -- but if you spend that time comparing your work to work you respect, trying to make your writing read better, carry the story better, portray the characters better, build the world better, a million words is just about right to learn enough to be able to produce work that will sell.

I'm inclined to invoke the Niven rule (named for well-known science fiction author Larry Niven): "You have to write about a million words of crap before you get to the good stuff." Niven was on record as counting himself lucky, in that he inherited money and was able to write full time, hence getting through his "million words" in a year or so (BTW, that isn't a bad figure for words per year at full time; my partner writes romance, and produces approximately a million words of published work a year).

Of course, if you have to work for a living, it'll take a lot longer -- maybe even much more than the ten year figure from another answer -- to get through your million words. I've been writing when I could for most of forty years, and I'm just now approaching the point where I'm confident I can finish a novel of publication quality -- and even once finished and published, I expect to need to write half a dozen more before my sales get good enough to live on (which will coincide nicely with starting to collect Social Security).

And, of course, some writers will require fewer words, or more (the more attention you pay to the quality of your writing, and the more help you have in the form of editing and critiques, the lower your own figure likely to be).

I'm inclined to invoke the Niven rule (named for well-known science fiction author Larry Niven): "You have to write about a million words of crap before you get to the good stuff." Niven was on record as counting himself lucky, in that he inherited money and was able to write full time, hence getting through his "million words" in a year or so (BTW, that isn't a bad figure for words per year at full time; my partner writes romance, and produces approximately a million words of published work a year).

Of course, if you have to work for a living, it'll take a lot longer -- maybe even much more than the ten year figure from another answer -- to get through your million words. I've been writing when I could for most of forty years, and I'm just now approaching the point where I'm confident I can finish a novel of publication quality -- and even once finished and published, I expect to need to write half a dozen more before my sales get good enough to live on (which will coincide nicely with starting to collect Social Security).

And, of course, some writers will require fewer words, or more (the more attention you pay to the quality of your writing, and the more help you have in the form of editing and critiques, the lower your own figure likely to be). Beyond that, there's no real guarantee you'll "get to the good stuff" after your million words -- it also depends on working at your craft. If you just pump out a million random words, you're unlikely to learn anything about writing in the process -- but if you spend that time comparing your work to work you respect, trying to make your writing read better, carry the story better, portray the characters better, build the world better, a million words is just about right to learn enough to be able to produce work that will sell.

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source | link

I'm inclined to invoke the Niven rule (named for well-known science fiction author Larry Niven): "You have to write about a million words of crap before you get to the good stuff." Niven was on record as counting himself lucky, in that he inherited money and was able to write full time, hence getting through his "million words" in a year or so (BTW, that isn't a bad figure for words per year at full time; my partner writes romance, and produces approximately a million words of published work a year).

Of course, if you have to work for a living, it'll take a lot longer -- maybe even much more than the ten year figure from another answer -- to get through your million words. I've been writing when I could for most of forty years, and I'm just now approaching the point where I'm confident I can finish a novel of publication quality -- and even once finished and published, I expect to need to write half a dozen more before my sales get good enough to live on (which will coincide nicely with starting to collect Social Security).

And, of course, some writers will require fewer words, or more (the more attention you pay to the quality of your writing, and the more help you have in the form of editing and critiques, the lower your own figure likely to be).