Three years. Just like a proper apprentice learning a reasonable craft. I spent three years on a predetermined writing schedule:
- One short story per month
- One episode of my series every four months
- One dime novel per year
The idea behind the commitment was to improve my writing by means of practice, because this is so warmly recommended by so many kind souls showering wannabe writers with advice.
Didn’t work, can’t confirm. My English is a bad as ever. Whoever came up with the “just you practice” advice most probably didn’t have non-native writers in mind.
My writing is no less weird. Same old mistakes make my output distinctive, to call this bug a feature. But I got much faster. Practice works wonders for the quantitative side of the process.
Especially the typing. Hacking away at my tablet, I reach speeds more typically associated with talking. Real time dialogue tempo clearly within reach, give or take one more decade of creativity.
Same for plot housekeeping. I don’t use specialised software, Pages and Notes work fine for me. But I had to learn how to store what kind of details . Minutes spent hunting the name of a minor character introduced three chapters back add up fast, a good cheat sheet is a must.
I did learn stuff, in these three years of intense writing. With six novels under my belt and a seventh soon ready for beta readers, I feel entitled to graduate myself from apprentice to craftsperson.
Six years as a craftsperson, under the new schedule to be revealed soon, and I will call myself master. Bad English fiction writing master, that’s my kind of ambition. Readers, beware, brace yourself, there’s more content coming your way.