Monday, August 12, 2013

Real Writers Don't Do Math! (Or Do They?)

If you've been around the writing blogosphere, you know there's an ongoing debate regarding when you can be considered a Real Writer. (When you're published! When you sell x copies! When you get an agent! When you write! When the wind is blowing from the north and the day of the month is odd, but only if it's not raining!)

Ambiguous much?

Being a math-minded person, I'm convinced there must be a formula to calculate whether someone is a Real Writer or not. So, if x is the number of words you write and y is the number of cups of coffee you drink and z is the square root of pi multiplied by the number of query rejections you've received, and the product of x, y, and z is equal to the derivative of...

Um, yeah. I like math, but not enough to remember calculus.

Scratch the formula idea.

But I'm still convinced that math will not fail me. There must be a way. Some kind of system in which melding numbers and words creates the definitive Real Writer distinction.

Something like WRITER POINTS.

You know, the points you gain when you do writerly things. And the points you lose when you do decidedly non-writerly things.

Something like this:

100 points for every 500 words
100 points for every 10 pages
Wearing clothes that cannot double as pajamas
– 20 points
Having a cat
400 points
Having multiple cats
4000 points
Drinking a cup of coffee or tea
10 points per cup
Having a day job
– 200 points
Having multiple day jobs
– 2000 points
Brushing your teeth before noon
– 50 points
Not leaving the house for a full day
300 points
Sending out a query letter
1000 points
Receiving a rejection
5000 points
Having a conversation with someone who is not one of your characters
– 40 points
Watching “Honey Boo Boo”
– 300 points per episode
Making an entire meal out of Skittles/Starburst/jelly beans
50 points
– 10 points
Getting an agent/book deal
3000 points

*Not an exhaustive list.

So, what's the magic number? When are you a Real Writer? When you hit 10K points? 50K points? Any time your Writer Points balance is greater than zero?

Well...that's something you have to decide for yourself.

Because ultimately, being a Real Writer is more about how you feel than about anyone or anything else, including math. It's about writing and living the life you love and defining success the way you want to define it and then writing some more.

That's it.

But hey, if you hit a million points, let me know.

I'll probably send you a gold star.

(And remind you that showering every once in a while is a good thing.)