It is the fourth day of the FAQ-contestâ€“ask me a question, and you will have a chance to win a $15 gift certificate, and a super-secret something, which together make up a double-plus wonderfully truly incredibly awesome fantastic very good prize.
It is also a day before two of my sisters come into town, which means I am trying to double down on writing so I can have the weekend free.Â This means the blog is going to get somewhat neglected–ack!Â In good news, I deleted 10,000 words this morning!Â Um, yay again.Â I think.Â At this point, the words deleted on this project are 2x greater in number than the words that have made the cut . . . for now.
BUT–back to the FAQs:
Q. How do you pronounce your last name?
A. However I feel like it.Â I started out pronouncing it MILE-in, but everyone seems to think that it should be mill-AN, like the Italian city, and since it is not my actual name, I figure you can pronounce it however you want, and the majority will rule.Â mill-AN it is.
Q. Are you planning to quit your day job? Do you think your writing will interfere with your work?
A. No.Â I started writing because there was a dearth of creativity in my daily work, and I needed a creative outlet–almost desperately.Â If I did not write, I don’t doubt that I would find some other way to fill that creative void.Â But the truth is I just adore hard-nosed analytical stuff, and I think if all I did was write, I would feel as unbalanced as I did when all I did was hard-nosed analysis.Â I’ve found that when I take long vacations from all that intellectually rigorous stuff that I will invite analytical problems for me to solve–e.g., figuring out precisely the contours of a computer game.Â I need both!Â As for whether writing will interfere with my work–in the long term, no.Â I actually think that keeping both these elements in my life has been very good for me intellectually and creatively, and the two forms of writing are very complementary.Â On the day-to-day level . . . sometimes.Â From time to time–if I have a tight deadline on either end–one job will sometimes suffer for the other.Â But that short-term setback is more than made up for by the benefits I find from having a really balanced workload.
Q. How many words do you write a day, on a day-in, day-out basis?
A. Varies.Â Somewhere between zero and (my max, ever) around 7,500.Â I cannot do 7,500 words on command–that only happens when I hit a part that is truly on fire, and then I just can’t stop.Â It usually burns me out for days afterwards, too.Â My ideal pace–the one that doesn’t leave me feeling like I just want to die, but does stretch me a little bit–is about 1500 words a day, 5 days a week, with weekends for revision and clean up.
You’ll get more answers tomorrow–and of course, you should ask more questions!