I’ve always been good at math. In high school and college I won math awards. It just came easily to me. Perhaps it came too easily, and that’s why I didn’t take it up as a profession. Instead, I threw my hat into the writing ring. It’s been a long road, and one filled with learning about myself and about how to write. But, even though I loved to write, it wasn’t until I read something about math that turned me toward a regular practice.
You see, up until the early eighties I wrote poetry and short stories. I wrote fairly regularly, but still there were lapses. I had attempted writing a novel several times, but never finished one. In fact, I started my first novel in sixth grade, then again a few years later, and a few years after that. I have several of those starts still hanging around my house.
In the early eighties, I picked up The Writer magazine. There was an article in the magazine where the author explained that if you wrote 1000 words a day in three months you would have a 90,000 word first draft. And it made sense. I had never looked at my writing in that way. A novel was always something long and difficult to work on. But, 1000 words a day I could do. No problem.
Math, I suppose, had such a familiar place inside me that I wasn’t afraid of it. When applied to my writing, it made everything appear clear. So, I sat down and began to write. There were days when I only got a little over 500 words down, but in about four months or so, I had that 90,000 word first draft and was so proud of myself that I went out to dinner to celebrate.
That first novel never got published. Neither did the next or next. It took me a number of novels before one was anywhere near good enough to publish. But that wasn’t going to stop me. I so enjoyed the process that I just kept writing. I still do to this day. And if you can actually write that 1000 words each day, every day of the year, you can essentially write four first drafts a year. Unbelievable? Not at all. Not that I’d recommend it, but it’s possible.
I’m still amazed that it took a mathematical approach to sway me into finishing my first novel. I’m thankful. Since that time, I’ve written a lot of novels, short stories, poems, technical articles, nonfiction books, and it’s all because I now break everything down into a daily number of words, pages, or lines. For whatever reason, it works for me, and I suggest that everyone finds what works for them and do it, whether it’s writing, selling tools, or caring for your family.
Terry Persun is an award winning author and a #1 Amazon bestseller. He is also a Pushcart nominee. His mainstream novel, “Wolf’s Rite”, was a Star of Washington award winner, a POW! Award winner, and a ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalist. His science fiction novel, “Cathedral of Dreams”, was also a ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalists. And his historical novel, “Sweet Song”, won a Silver IPPY Award for best regional fiction. His latest novel, “Doublesight”, is book one of his new fantasy series. His latest poetry collection is “And Now This”. Terry writes in many genres, including historical fiction, mainstream, literary, and science fiction/fantasy.