The First Million Words

Overall, I’d say Worlds of Wonder: How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by David Gerrold was good advice in the form of fortune cookies. For example: “Your first million words are for practice.” That was the theme of a one-page chapter (including the chapter heading). You should think of those first million words as throw-aways. You may as well write fanfic, for all their publishing potential.

I don’t know if word 1,000,001 is supposed to be special, but that’s when you can take yourself seriously. Just estimating in my head, I figured I wasn’t past 500,000 yet, so I used wc to count them all, fanfic and original fic, and came up with exactly 369,025 words. About 120,000 of those are original fiction, finished or not, 1000 words of which have been published in non-professional markets. Another 20,000 or so is unfinished fanfic, leaving about 230,000 words of fanfic and filk here on-site.

I’ve been writing since July of 2000, but most of the words are from 2001, before I started working for crazy people. Were I keeping to my New Year’s resolution to write 1,000 words a day, I could be done practicing two years from now. That’s not exactly an encouraging thought.

I’ve been blogging since September, 2001, and the word count here, for comparison, is 180,326 - but then there’s no question that I’ve written a million words of non-fiction in my life. Maybe I can pro-rate them and count them, too.

2 Responses to “The First Million Words”

  1. LTW Says:

    I think you can count anything you’ve written that is for the purpose of really “writing” - blog posts, fan fiction, etc. - can count, and anything that is written as “communication” - email, memos at work, letters, etc. - doesn’t count. At least that’s how I’m counting it. I am just starting on the learning to write process myself. I’ve seen the “first million words” phrase before, in many other places, and it was the inspiration for my blog name.

  2. Jemima Says:

    I did count the fan fiction, but blog posts feel more like memos than stories to me. Good luck with those million words!