by Tim Kane
I’ve been working on two stories for the past few weeks. Yet day after day my page count stands at zero. No pages added. Half the time I’m beating myself up. But I really shouldn’t. There’s more to writing than churning out pages.
One story I have is in the very beginning stages. I find that most of my time is spent fleshing out characters and exploring back stories. Yes, I jot down notes for these, but I don’t count these as pages. Why do I waste so much time on pre-writing?
On a previous novel, I simply dove in. I certainly racked up the page count, cruising to the halfway point in just a few months. Then I realized I hadn’t worked out the protagonist well enough. So I scrapped it and started again. I breezed up to another twenty-thousand words, only the find that story still wasn’t working. The lesson in all this is this: Make sure the pages you write are good. Instead of plowing through draft after draft, I find that if I spend some weeks pre-writing (that is, getting a handle on the characters and the voice) then I can get to the finish line with a better manuscript.
The second story I have is already written. Instead of working on pages, I’m banging out a marketing plan and promotion concepts. True, these constitute a few pages, but the amount of work I put in far dwarfs what I put into a similar passage of manuscript writing.
If you lament not having a high word or page counts, just think: There are other ways to be a writer.