I am writing a 1000 words of my novel every single day (this doesn’t include blog posts, journaling, and all of the other writing I do during the day). It is the one of the few non-negotiable things that I have to do every single day with my time. Even if I get nothing else done, and I get these words done, my day is a success. Based on the rate that I’m going, I’m going to be publishing a novel every 2.5 months.
Some people look at the rate I’m churning out novels, almost like a mass production line, and they scoff at it. These are the individuals who value perfectionism (and perhaps never putting anything out there), vs. shitty material that gets seen by the populace.
Whatever their quirks might be, I have started sending out the story below to individuals who think my method of writing a lot, and publishing novels at a rapid rate to be the wrong approach.
The Story Of Pots
A pottery teacher split her class into two halves.
To the first half she said, “You will spend the semester studying pottery, planning, designing, and creating your perfect pot. At the end of the semester, there will be a competition to see whose pot is the best”.
To the other half she said, “You will spend your semester making lots of pots. Your grade will be based on the number of completed pots you finish. At the end of the semester, you’ll also have the opportunity to enter your best pot into a competition.”
The first half of the class threw themselves into their research, planning, and design. Then they set about creating their one, perfect pot for the competition.
The second half of the class immediately grabbed fistfulls of clay and started churning out pots. They made big ones, small ones, simple ones, and intricate ones. Their muscles ached for weeks as they gained the strength needed to throw so many pots.
At the end of class, both halves were invited to enter their most perfect pot into the competition. Once the votes were counted, all of the best pots came from the students that were tasked with quantity. The practice they gained made them significantly better potters than the planners on a quest for a single, perfect pot.
I’m Still In Middle School
I’m not looking to write my best-selling novel right now. In my opinion, I’m still in middle school in terms of my writing skills. I have a long way to go.
But I am not going to get there just by the mere fact of existing. The only way I’m going to progress in the school of writing is through the beautiful act of putting words down on paper. The words themselves don’t matter. They don’t need to be pretty, or succinct, or at a Grade 10 level. They just need to exist.
Every time, I sit down at my make-shift desk in my Chiang Mai studio apartment, and write my words out, I make progress. I am moving forward infinitesimally. But I’m moving forward. I’m learning about how to write, what my writing style, what I like to write about, what I don’t like to write about, what are my weak spots, and what am I great at.
All of this is going to move me to the university level in this school of writing.
Writing Makes You A Better Writer
I know so many people who want to be writers, but aren’t actually putting any words to paper. Why? Either they are waiting for inspiration, or they are waiting to become better writers. I don’t want to write shitty stuff, they tell me.
How are you going to become a better writer? By writing a lot of shitty material, publishing it, putting it out there for feedback and critic, learning from your mistakes, and growing as a writer.
Sitting around and wishing to become a better writer, or visualizing it, will not do it. Write, and write a lot, and write badly, and write shit-ily, and write every day.
It’s not about perfectionism, but getting those words out on paper. When we imagine a scene in our head, it looks entirely different from when it’s written down. That difference will teach you to write better. You will start asking questions like, ‘Why does it sound different in my head, and what can I do to make it sound the same?’ These questions are important. But they won’t come up, until you actually sit down and write.
Write A Lot Of Shit In Your Desired Genre
Now, this is an important one. When you write, write in the genre you would love to be known for. When I first started writing, I was 7 or 8 years old. I wrote short stories that my teachers, and parents loved. Writing was my passion.
I naturally gravitated towards science fiction and fantasy. It was and is my genre. I love creating new worlds for people to explore. It fascinates me, because in my world anything and everything is possible. There are no limits. I can have aliens, and dreams, and ghosts, and whatever else I want.
It is my world, and I’m creating it as I go.
This freedom of thought is why I love to write. But for some reason, as I got older, I became afraid to write in this particular genre. I was afraid to be called a child, or labeled a dreamer. Whatever it might be, I started moving towards real-life stories.
But, I hated writing real stories about real people. It was boring to me. I absolutely despise it. I am not happy writing these stories.
As soon as I realized my genre is sci-fi and fantasy, I was happy again. I create lots of random worlds, and I love it.
I implore you to do the same. Write a lot, but in the genre or space you like.
This Applies To Anything You Want To Master
I’m using the example of writing, because that is my ONE Thing right now. I’m focused on writing as being my one thing that is going to make everything else unnecessary or unneeded. But I think this applies to anything you might be interested in mastering.
If you are interested in becoming better at playing the ukulele, or ballroom dancing, the only way you are going to become better at it, is by being really bad at it. Play the ukulele badly for a long period of time, and eventually you are going to become good at it.
This applies to anything and everything we might be interested in.
Be bad at it at first, and keep on doing it for a long time. Work at it. Do it. And you will get better at it. An absolute given. Boom!
Don’t Sit On Your Hands And Don’t Skip A Single Day
Whenever you are interested in mastering something, don’t sit around and wait for things to happen. Don’t wait to be discovered if you are an actor. Go out and make shit happen. Use your iPhone to create a movie that you are starring in. Or ask your friend to follow you around and film everything you for a day. Don’t just sit there. Just do something.
Additionally, try very hard not to skip a single day. Try to accumulate a streak of days that you have worked on the skill that you are trying to master. Keep on at it, so that you are able to build momentum, which is the key to making anything big happen.
Building a long streak of baby steps is the way to get at that final big step (if you ever get there – I think we have a tendency to keep on moving our goals up and up and up).