I don’t know how many times in our lives we get to peer over the guardrail back at our lives, but I just recently I crossed a big milestone—well, a big milestone to me, at least.
Sometime in September, I wrote my one millionth word of fiction (a specific designation because I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words of non-fic, too). One Million words. That’s a lot. Like if I were to ask someone how many words is a lot, they’d say “A hundred thousand is a ton of words!” and I’ve written ten times that. If I printed out all those words in Times New Roman 12 point and put them in a line, you’d have to walk 10 kilometers to read them all.
So what does a milestone like 1 million words mean? I don’t know, but I can tell you what it doesn’t mean. Volume of words does not equate to quality or competency. Sure I’ve written a ton, but that doesn’t mean any of it is good. And volume is no guarantee of publication. I know people who have ten times (this is literal, not figurative) more words and still haven’t landed that all coveted publishing contract. On the flip side, I know someone who published her first novel (YOWZAH), so a million words is meaningless.
For me, a million words is four laptops (okay, the kid killed two of them), and more than a decade of writing off and on. A million words is having to write the letters onto the keyboard because I’ve polished them off from all the typing. A million words means I’m here to stay. I never imagined I could write that much, so for me it’s something of a badge of honor. What makes me the most happy, is that of those million words, over a quarter of them were in the last year.
I’m just warming up.