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I'm Writing a Book

I have the predicament of wanting to do everything before I die. Number 234,220 on that list is writing a novel, so we're going to get that one knocked out this month.

Why November? Because it's NaNoWriMo, the unfortunately acronymed National Novel Writing Month. You can go sign up at the web site and pledge to write a 50k word novel in one month. Usually 1 out of 6 people actually finish it. I'll be one of those people. Will you?

I have a pretty cool idea for a story, and I think I'm already a pretty good storyteller. What's really exciting, though, is that writing 50k words apparently makes everyone who completes it a much better writer. Remember the practicing thing from yesterday? Let's practice being good writers. Get ready for some kick ass stories up in this piece.

Two Paths to Being a Writer

On SEBASTIAN MARSHALL

Question from a reader -

You have maintained your commitment to being prolific which is made even more exceptional by the fact you are travelling around the world at the same time.

I realise your article on being prolific is about this, but accepting that I'm going to release a lot of crap before I realise something good is a tough wall to knock down. My biggest issue writing anything seems to be that it feel insufficent. Naturally no post I write has the length of Steve Yegge, the persuasiveness of Paul Graham, the content of Unqualified Reservations etc. etc. and while I can consciously accept this, there seems to be some mental block. How do you go "that's sufficient" and release it into the wild?

There's two basic approaches to being successful as a writer. The first, we could call the "Paul Graham / Derek Sivers" approach. This is where you explore a lot of ideas privately, go forward with the best ideas you have, and edit and polish the hell out of everything before you release it into the world. If you do this, and you've got talent as a writer, and you've got important ideas - then you're going to consistently only release masterpieces.

The second way is to just write a hell of a lot and know that a number of the things you write will turn out quite well, but your average quality level will be much lower. We could call this the "write every day no matter what" approach.

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