The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Some notes on being a writer

… how do you become an author?

I always give the same answer: it's easy to be an author, whether of fiction or nonfiction, and it's a pleasant profession. Fiction authors go about making speeches and signing books. Computer authors go to computer shows and then come home to open boxes of new equipment and software, and play with the new stuff until they tire of it. It's nice work if you can get it.

The problem is that no one pays you to be an author.

To be an author, you must first be a writer …

The secret of becoming a writer is that you have to write. You have to write a lot.

I am sure it has been done with less, but you should be prepared to write and throw away a million words of finished material. By finished, I mean completed, done, ready to submit, and written as well as you know how at the time you wrote it. You may be ashamed of it later, but that's another story. [emphasis added]

Jerry Pournelle: How to get my job

I would think that after four years of doing this I would have a million words done by now, but nooooo. I only have about 340,000 words of material here.

Heh. Only.

Only 660,000 bad words left to write.

By contrast, I suspect that Atlas Shrugged (by Ayn Rand) has about half a million words (only it feels twice as long). And Jerry Pournelle's The Mote in God's Eye (okay, him and Larry Niven) has about 224,000 words in it.

Can you tell I'm trying to pad my count with worthless entries?

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