Writing 1,000,000 Words

In moments of frustration I come back to one word:


If you read this blog on a regular basis you may tire of this theme, but in our culture, where everything resides within the parameters of our fingertips, it cannot be overemphasized. Awe-inspiring, worthwhile things cannot be microwaved into existence. No business, no book, no piece of art, no movement (in spite of how they are marketed) has ever traveled through the full spectrum of creation in an instant.

* * * * *

One of my favorite meals that Maile makes is a vindaloo curry. If you don’t know what that is, just think “hot.” It’s a masterpiece, really, a piece of art that can be eaten. The textures and flavors. But guess what? You won’t find it in a Rachel Ray cookbook. You won’t find (an edible version) in any instant form.

Because masterpieces take time.

Maile grinds the spices herself. She creates the curry paste. She slices and dices and simmers and mixes.

Everything worth anything in this life requires a process.

* * * * *

“It’s the millions of words written, all the short stories, even the ones that weren’t any good. Without the millions of words written it is impossible to write a book like this. And by the same token-those millions of words are a guarantee that the last half will not falter for a moment.” – Steinbeck, on reading the manuscript of Louis Paul’s novel, The Wrong World

* * * * *

Are you willing to fail multiple times or coast along in business for twenty years before finding your success?

Are you willing to paint a thousand portraits?

Write a million words?

16 Replies to “Writing 1,000,000 Words”

  1. The connection here of course is that vindaloo will definitely give you something to write home about. OW!

    As for the writing, I would be willing to write that much for my family and friends. If others continue to read along, cool!

  2. Love this … and now I want to try vindaloo curry (which I never heard of before)
    And thanks for inspiring me … after reading this I wrote a post about celebrating long-road accomplishments

  3. I heard a preacher say recently, “God does not really care much about goals; the process is just as important if not more important.” Since I heard that, I cannot get it out of my head. I know I am way to goal oriented, and do not enjoy the process nearly like I should.

  4. Thanks again for the encouragement Shawn, definitely need to hear this, and will need to hear it many more times! The frustrations of being a visionary I guess. We struggle to wait for our dreams to come true! I need to learn to enjoy the process as painful, long, at times depressing and frustrating as it can be. It is the process, not the fulfillment that make us into the people God wants us to be!

  5. Pingback: Process « Red Ink
  6. Cool thoughts – recently I was inspired by a @sethgodin talk where he said that art is the risky human act of doing something you haven’t done before for someone else [paraphrasing]. In order to do “your art” he says there is no map. I wonder how he would feel about your idea of process? Clearly he agrees that there are no shortcuts to doing things that matter, but would he agree that process is the key? Great post, I’ll be back.

    1. Interesting questions, Jason. I would not equate process with a map; in fact, they are almost opposites. To me, a map tells you where to go, defines the route, while process is the act of engaging the here and now, the present point. I think you can only create a map after the process has worked itself out. Maybe another way of looking at it is that a map is the waste produced by living out a process?

      Thanks for stopping by.

  7. I used to say “boy, I’d sure like to write,” but never wrote. Now that I blog regularly, I don’t say it anymore–I just do it. I’ve fallen in love with the process.

    Because of the blogging, I’ve made new friends, new connections. And in less than a month, as part of Alise Wright’s Not Alone project, I–along with a whole host of other folks–will have a piece published! Never did I think it would be about my struggle with depression, but I’m not knocking it. Definite hinge moment.

    So, man, yeah, we’ve gotta love the process.

Comments are closed.