I’m a bit of a masochist.

I don’t go around shoving needles into my back or watching the films of Uwe Boll, but I do allow myself to think some dark thoughts knowing they’re not good for me.

For example, what does a Red Bull taste like mixed with a Monster energy drink? I wasn’t sure, but 24-year-old me certainly wanted to find out.

Turns out, it tastes like an early death.

*weeps for my future heart problems, assuredly brought on by bad early-20s life choices

No photo description available.

Seriously. I had problems.

No, today isn’t about what harmful chemicals I can force into my body as fast as possible. It’s about what dark thoughts you need to avoid when you’re a writer and what you can do to turn them into something beneficial.

The other day, I was minding my own business, scrolling through Instagram as you do. Then, this life-changing picture popped up:

For those that have been following along at home, I’m in the middle of 3rd draft edits to Project: GREY. My 2nd draft edits were what Ms. Dawson was doing in the photo: taking a red pen to a printed copy of your book, marking necessary fixes as you go. In all, the middle grade book is about 120 pages long, depending on the finalized formatting.

Which is, basically, what Delilah edited in a day.

So, immediately, I beat myself up about it. A Lot. Hours lost to feeling bad because, “How can I compare with these professionals? How masterful are they? We are but peons bowing at their feet! No wonder they’ve been published and I’m screaming into a blog post about how bad I am next to them in a never-ending cycle!”

But then!

But then…

I feel like I’ve gotten better at altering my change of thought. It’s not easy, and takes lots of practice. It’s been roughly 2 1/2 years since I left teaching, and only in the last 3-4 months have I wrapped my head around this concept. Writing is hard, it’s bleeding onto the page, but you need to know that not everyone cares about your blood.

Since no one else does (until the hopeful day people do care), you need to be the care-er-er….

So, here’s what I did.

Delilah said she could edit 157 pages in one day, due the next.

When I was doing my 2nd draft line edits, I did about 10 pages a day when I was behind.

So, 10 out of 157 is about 0.063 or 6.3%.

Meaning I’m 6.3% of the way to becoming a PROFESSIONALLY PUBLISHED NOVELIST.

And, on the days I line edited 20 pages, that would double it to 12.7%.

So in comparison, my Writer Power Level is 12 and Delilah S. Dawson is 100.

This is how my brain handles this. This lets me know where I stand.

On the other end, Warren Ellis likes to share this story:

Georges Simenon used to write a novel in eight days, producing between six thousand and eight thousand words a day. He’d start at dawn each day and be done by 10.30am, drenched in sweat. In his younger days, it’s said, he’d throw up after completing his shift. One of my favourite stories about Michael Moorcock is that he’d start a book on a Monday when the bill from Harrods came in and deliver the novel on Friday to get the cheque to pay it.

So, Mr. Simenon can write 6-8,000 words in one day. On my best day, in 1st draft mode, I usually averaged out between 1,000-1,500 words a day. Let’s take the middle ground and say 1,250.

1,250 out of 7,000 is about 17.8%.

Meaning, I am 17.85% the author that acclaimed author,Georges Simenon, creator of the Maigret series of books which have been adapted into film, television, and radio, was.

My Writer Level Power is 17.85 compared to Simenon’s 100.

Find your author. Find your standings.

Know what it takes to surpass your heroes, then do everything you can to do so.

Thanks for reading,

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Twitter: @robacosta

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Contact: robertmichaelacosta@gmail.com

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