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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkEntertainment | Books | August 2009 

If You Can Count, You Can Write A Book
email this pageprint this pageemail usDavid Lyons - PVNN
August 11, 2009

R.D. Lyons has written 3 novels, which can be purchased in Puerto Vallarta bookstores and at
Fiction, non-fiction, it all begins with an idea, usually one you can express in ten words or less. You've got an idea? Then start writing. It's as easy as 1-2-3.

I've recently begun another novel. It's been awhile since I've started on something new. There's that initial terror, staring at the empty screen where that very first page will appear, but dive in and you'll find the water's fine. I'd been working on the re-write of a finished manuscript for some time and had almost forgotten how enjoyable the first steps of the creative process can be.

Some writers undertake exhaustive planning; chapter outlines, in depth character descriptions, even detailed histories of their characters before ever writing that first word. I don't. I'm a member of the 'Leap of Faith School of Writing.' When I have an idea, hopefully a pretty clear image of the opening scene, I'm off and running. If I have a beginning and a vague idea of what the book is to be about, that's enough for me. From that point, I make myself a slave to my daily word count.

Nowadays, being more settled in my lifestyle, I've determined that a word count of 500 words per day is a comfortable and attainable pace. Sometimes I might do a little more, but I try to never do less. One of the most prolific authors in English literature never wrote more than 500 words a day. He would stop in mid-sentence on reaching that final word. Stopping in the middle of an idea is often a good thing. It makes it easier to begin your next writing session.

When your creative juices are flowing, those 500 words can come in no time at all. It can be amazing to look at the clock and find that morning has become afternoon and your day's writing work is done. On the other hand - and this will happen too - it sometimes seems that no force on earth will squeeze those words out of you. You will find that in those difficult hours, 500 words is still a reachable target. Even if it's difficult, even if you don't like what you've written on a particular day, keep to that goal and you'll find that you've achieved something, and something is always better than nothing.

Enjoy the good days, endure the bad days and slowly but surely you'll achieve milestones worth recognizing, even celebrating. At 500 words a day, before the second week of work, you'll have reached 5000 words, your first three or four chapters. Congratulate yourself. Before you know it, you'll reach 10,000. Those ten thousand word benchmarks always give you a great feeling of satisfaction and achievement. Reward yourself on making them. You've earned it.

What I find is that in sticking to this modest goal, I'm less likely to look for excuses not to write, it becomes more enjoyable and in diligence I find discovery. This morning was a great example. An important aspect of one of my characters made itself known, just appearing at the right time and place. It came as a complete surprise to me, not something I had planned on at all.

Welcome those moments. They will come if you can count to five hundred. Like I said, if you can count, you can write a book.

Enjoy the process.

A long-time resident of Puerto Vallarta, R.D. (David) Lyons is an accomplished author who has published 3 novels and contributes educational and entertaining articles to several local publications. When not writing, he can be found singing jazz standards to his own guitar accompaniment at several of the town's most popular venues.

Click HERE for more articles by David Lyons.

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