Blowing My Own Trumpet (Not a Euphemism)

I’m not having one of my better days and so I decided to cheer myself up by writing a blog post about something cool.

About this time last year I started writing stuff. I’ve always been creative but apart from an abortive flirtation at University I’d put those energies into other things.

Spin forward to February 2011, with me not using that bit of my brain much.

Luckily for me I have a wonderful insightful wife who noticed and pointed out that maybe I was a frustrated creative. So I decided to crank up the old lap top and have a go.

I started a spread sheet to record each story and how many words I’d written. In my own naïve way I also set some targets or perhaps it’s better to say levels, where words = experience. Essentially I cast myself as a Level 0 D&D writer, with 1d4 Hit Points, an outdated writing device and no social network.

So the levels were as follows:

0-50K – Apprentice

100K – Journeyman

250K – Practised

1000000 – Veteran

I guess I liked the idea that by plugging away at enough low level stuff I naturally progress and develop (and of course upgrade my kit).

So how did I do? To date, over the past 12 months, I’ve written 244642 words of fiction. That’s not to say they’re all very good words. In fact some of them will never see the light of day but regardless, I have made them and feel proud of that.

They include the first draft of a novel, the first four fifths of the sequel, a couple of short stories and lots of flashes.

I suspect that ‘real’ writers think more about books written than words written, in the same way that my C.V. kind of zoom’s out as I get older. For now though I’m just going to enjoy the glow for a bit.

Any of you think of your writer self in levels? Any Arch-Writers out there? Dual classed types? Or is it just me?

8 responses to “Blowing My Own Trumpet (Not a Euphemism)

  1. I've never even thought of something like that! I wish I had, it sounds like a very interesting, motivating and entertaining system. As with so many other things, I believe it will be difficult to start and go backwards with first, though.

  2. "Lots of flashes"… mehehe.

    Ahem, anyway. I don't consider myself a levelled writer, but I see it as a bit of a split personality. I feel like I suck (a good deal of the time), but then I finish something – be it a novel, a short, or a REALLY short short – and BAM, I'm the most successful man who ever lived. That lasts about, oh I don't know, until an undetermined amount of time passes, and then I suck again.

    This is generally how I feel like my career with writing goes. It's a WIN when I win, and I'm loosing every other moment of the time. In hindsight, I can look at my accomplishments and be OK with it, but doesn't usually last long.

    …I make it sound like, well… a drug. Oops.

    • Interesting. I see you've gone for the cool and edgy, writing is a drug. Or maybe its more like being an adrenaline junkie for you? Always writing for the next high! Maybe you could do a series, Ryan G. Sanders: Extreme Writer! That would be cool.

  3. If you're self-reflective and strive for things you're typically weak at, then those words can yield a better writer fast. And you're almost to 'Practiced'! Keep plugging, Peter.

  4. I started writing nearly four years ago now, and think the way I have changed is the way I think of the level I am at, is by what I call myself. I use to say I was an aspiring fiction writer these days I now say I am a fiction writer. With one novel behind me several short stories and flashes , some meagre publications to my name, I feel I have moved out of the wannabe and into the am stage. I really don't think in terms of the amount of words I write, sometime I do a lot of writing sometimes not so much. I've never thought of doing a spreadsheet, that's probably too organised for me ^__^

    • Thanks for sharing Helen. I suspect that when I feel like a proper, grown up fiction writer, I won't be counting words. But for now its something I can use to mark progress and boost morale.

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