I have come across many people who call themselves writers but who if they were being honest with themselves probably aren’t. I think of the Peter Cook joke. who when someone told him they were writing a novel, said ‘Yes, neither am I.’ Now, there are as many ways of writing fiction as there are writers of fiction, (and in this case, I am talking about writing fiction, rather than writing a history of the Yorkshire and Lancashire railway or a book about how to collect string.) But to me the acid test of whether you are a writer or not is when you get the feeling if you haven’t written anything that day something is wrong. This ignores those writers who write in block like the playwright Alan Ayckbourne. He prepares for months, but writes the play in two or three weeks, so destroying the writing daily is important theory. However, though a writer might not be putting anything down on paper they must be thinking about it, or if the aren’t thinking about it, something must be gestating, Well I’m sure you get the picture.
I’m a 250 words a day man, though I have written as much as 600. I have a minimum of 100 a day, which I’ve never not easily reached. It’s important to set a limit that isn’t intimidating, or else disgruntlement can set in. 500 words a day would be too much for me and if I did meet 500 a day, day after day. It simply wouldn’t be as good. Good as what? Well as good as I wanted it to be. I have a certain tempo that absorbs and then expresses, and your tempo. if you are a writer or are going to start writing is different. With me at 250 words a day, the sentences are put down fairly easily though not without some struggle.