Elmore’s First Million Words
It wasn’t until 1950 that I really decided to be a writer. I chose westerns because I liked westerns movies and I wanted a market that I could sell to without a lot of trouble, without having to learn too much, I figured I would get better as I managed the craft.
John D. McDonald said that you had to write a million words before you really knew what you were doing. A million words is ten years. By that time you should have a definite idea of what you want your writing to sound like. That’s the main thing. I don’t think many writers today begin with that goal: to write a certain way that has a definite sound to it.
You must learn the most effective way to put the words down as far as your interests and ability are concerned. I knew that I could not write in the formal sense of a serious writer, whose voice is the most important thing in the book. I didn’t develop the ability to write in that style. I thought books written that way for the most part were boring.