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why write?

Writing is a lot like tennis. Actually, writing is not much like tennis at all, except for the part where you can’t get good at tennis unless you play tennis, and you can’t get good at writing unless you practice writing!

I don’t know many people who have never played tennis who think that they can pick up a racket and kick some tail on the court. But it does appear that a lot of people sit down to write their first novel and think that their work is going to be the Next Big Thing. It seems to me that it’s pretty much the same thing… you can’t rock out at tennis without playing a lot of tennis, and you can’t become a great writer without doing a heck of a lot of writing. In fact, John D. McDonald, some guy I’ve never heard of, once said that you need to write one million words before you really know what you’re doing with the craft.

I used to write every single day when I was younger – pages and pages of a science fiction novel that turned into a trilogy! Or whatever word for trilogy means that there were five of them. None of it is publishable, and in fact it would probably be quite embarrassing if anyone were to find any of it and give it a read right now, but I’m sure I got a few hundred thousand words in there. A million? I’ve probably got a few words to go before I get there, so until then I’m going to write, and read, and experiment, and have fun.

Am I writing this book to get published? I’d love to publish a book, but only when I’m ready, and when my book is ready, and I’m not going to have any misguided notions that my work is there yet! So, no… not yet. But I’d definitely like to be on the road to doing so, and the only way to get on that road, is to write.

01. Oct, 2010

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