I keep everything I write, even the incomplete stuff. I took a look at all my complete and incomplete works and did some word counting. Here’s what I found:
- My incomplete works total 62,000 words
- My completed works total 153,000 words
That comes to a total of 215,000 words written. To look at it a slightly different way, that amounts to a 29% success rate. So for every 100 words I write, 29 of them will fail to hit the mark.
This is all old stuff, written during or before 1999. This doesn’t include any of my newest writing (which isn’t much so far).
The point? I surprised myself with how much I had actually written. I went pretty strong for a number of years, before I took time off to focus on my band and college. Stronger than I thought, actually. That actually made me feel a little better.
Though almost 30% of what I wrote I effectively threw away, it doesn’t change the fact that I still wrote it. Writing is about getting words on paper, then getting them right. It’s an investment. If there are no words, there’s nothing to edit. It’s inevitable you’re gonna throw something away in the process.
I’m taking what I could see as a failure and spinning it to a positive.
Take a minute and tally up the words you’ve written, good or bad. If it’s low then it means you need to write more. If it’s high then at least you’re getting that part right.
In the end, every word written is an investment. In that light it’s hard to imagine that any of it is a waste.