As I was slaving away recently on my current WIP, struggling to pry words loose from my brain like flesh-eating scarabs in the mummy’s tomb, I needed to Google something. Grateful for any diversion, I managed to lock onto a video of George R. R. Martin and Stephen King, discussing writing. Martin, known to be a slow writer, asked King, “How the f%*k do you write so many books so fast?”
I’m a huge fan of both King and Martin, so of course I wanted to hear the answer. But being in my currently frustrated frame of mind, I was all ready to make my well-la-de-da face (you know the one, when someone tells you how easy it is to do something you can’t do), fully prepared to become even more depressed.
King’s response was “I try to get six pages a day. When I’m working, I work every day, three, four hours, and I try to get those six pages and I try to get them fairly clean.”
My mind, already exhausted from fighting with words, took longer than it should have to do the math. But I got there. One and a half to two pages each hour.
At this point, I’d been writing for two hours, and I’d written about four pages.
Holy Crap! Even writing at the speed of a sloth on Ambien, I was keeping pace with King’s daily goal. Holy Crap!
Granted, the pages on my computer weren’t exactly clean. And I certainly don’t compare my writing to the caliber of a best-selling author. But it made me realize that sometimes (like, always) we’re too hard on ourselves about our progress (or lack thereof).
And then that glorious man who created the mother of dragons made me feel even better.
Martin asked King, “You don’t ever have a day where you sit down there and it’s like constipation? You write a sentence and you hate the sentence? And you check your email and you wonder if you had any talent after all and maybe you should have been a plumber? Don’t you have days like that?”
Stephen King said he didn’t have days like that. I, however, do. Apparently, so does George R. R. Martin.
Thank you, Mr. Martin. Maybe there’s hope for me yet.