How Many Words Make You Salable

Have you written enough words to make your work salable? I bet you've never heard that question before.

I was thinking about this as I was sitting on the porch this evening and scribbling in a notebook.

Darling Hubby and I left Houston this afternoon, thinking we'd get away before the forecasted torrential rains from Tropical Storm Cindy.

We arrived at our house in the country and enjoyed an unseasonably cool evening courtesy of the approaching storm. So I took advantage of the cool evening to sit on the porch and write.

Writing Routine

Most of us who write a lot get in the habit of writing on a computer of some sort. We get in such a habit that we think we can't write unless we're at the computer.

The truth is that most of us have lives outside of writing. If we write only at the computer, we lose a lot of time when we could be getting more words in the can.

How Many Words Is Enough

Most commercially successful writers adhere to the theory that you must write thousands of words before you ever write anything salable.

Dean Koontz said this very thing in Writing Popular Fiction, published in 1972. (I think that was the first of his books on the subject in which I read that.)

Anyway, Mr. Koontz said: "A writer must write X thousand words before anything can be written worthy of publication. What that X is varies from writer to writer."


How many words have you written? Estimate your thousands of words. Are you happy with that? Maybe you need to write more by taking advantage of the short blocks of time you find during the day and evening.

Perhaps you should also try different media to take advantage of those minutes. It's easy to keep a notebook and pen nearby or tucked in your purse or in the car console. Try writing that way as well as with a note app on a tablet, voice dictation on your Smartphone, or an old AlphaSmart if you have one, as I do. (I'm going to hold a funeral when my AlphaSmart dies.)

It's really amazing how many words you can write just with pen and paper. Sometimes, because you're writing slower than when keyboarding, the words are more thoughtful and may need less editing.

Takeaway Truth

You'll get more words cranked out if you use your time effectively. It just requires a little advance planning.


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