Currently working on: Destroying Book 3
As W-2s begin appearing in mailboxes around the country in preparation for tax season, this seems like a good time to dream about making my first million.
Okay, back to work.
I wanted to be a writer because I wanted to be rich and famous. I know, I know, in retrospect, that was crazy. But I write fiction, after all. Unfortunately, not fantasy, so I can’t sustain the fame and fortune dream. Sigh.
And I have such plans for that non-existent million. A back deck where I can write in the summer… A breakfast nook with a sliding glass door to that back deck where I can write in the fall, winter and spring and those parts of summer where it is too rainy to write on the back deck… (I live in the Pacific NW where we must be realistic about our outdoor opportunities. And water-resistant.)
The rest of the million would be eaten up in colored Post-Its and buckets of cookie dough. My needs are fairly simple.
It would take several million to make my real writer dream come true. I’ve long had a fantasy of an artist commune, a place where writers, musicians, painters, and dancers could come and live for free while they pursued their art, even for just a week. I found this diary entry from January 2000 where the fantasy began:
I wish I had a true office where all I did was write. An office with bookshelves and a big comfy desk with a big comfy chair that could recline so I could pull the keyboard over my lap and type in perfect style. There would be a TV with awesome reception that would automatically record my shows and not turn on until my chapter was done. Yes, my choices must be taken away from me. Maybe I will start a writers’ colony where all choices are taken away from the writer. They must churn out the requisite number of pages before they are fed, for example. That would get the muse juices flowing, no doubt.
Okay, so maybe it’s less a commune and more a prison. At least I have an office now. Still no chair, although now I have a pretty purple exercise ball to sit on, which is fun. And the TV is almost dead, no great loss since they cancelled the only show I was watching. (I’ll miss you, Dollhouse! Joss, stop working with Fox!) I still have hopes for the artist colony. Someday…
Okay, so I can’t control the million dollars, but I am closing in on my other first million. My first million words.
A million words is one of those numbers that gets bandied about among writerly types. They say “Every writer has a million bad words in her, and she needs to get them out before she gets to the worthwhile words.” I don’t know about that; I’m pretty sure I got way more than a million bad words in me. I think it’s just because they’re writerly types and so they like the big, easy number. I know I like it. I recently added up my final draft words on the ten novels I’ve completed: 844,000. If I throw in the three false starts, I’m at 924,000. I’m not counting the really false starts where I only have a few chapters or just the working outline. And I’m not counting how many times I had to rewrite those words to arrive at the final drafts.
By the end of this year, my word odometer will roll over. It’ll be interesting to see what’s in me then. Lots of cookie dough, no doubt. Unless that crazy warden from the writers’ colony makes me do my words first.
So what does a million mean to you?