Why Some Writers Don’t Want to Be Prolific

Why Some Writers Don't Want to Be Prolific

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Because you’re a writer, you do a lot of reading. The reading came first and you can never get tired of it. You can get tired of some authors; really fast when they produce poor quality or repetitive work. Other authors never disappoint. There is a range of quality out there.

There is a myth that good writers only produce one or two books a year. Writers who pump out a dozen books a year seem to be hacks producing poorly edited cookie cutter knock-offs. Is that really the case? Are there exceptions?

Destroy the Illusion of Prolific Writers as Hacks

The sixties brought us a good saying: Question Everything. Let’s question those assumptions. I see two questions.

Are there slow writers who produce bad books?

Are there prolific writers who produce good books?

If you read novels by new authors, you know there are plenty of slow writers who produce bad books. Most people who write a book, only write one book. Sometimes they stop because it was a lot more work than they expected. Sometimes it’s because their first book failed. Any avid reader has a bag of those books waiting to be traded in at the used book store. That’s one question answered. Slow writers can produce bad books.

How about good prolific writers? James Patterson is certainly prolific. He was up to 77 books last time I checked. Isaac Asimov, science prof turned sci-fi writer, was also prolific, writing or editing over 500 books. Dean Koontz, Edgar Rice Buggoughs, Louis L’Amour, and Agatha Christie are all good prolific writers. Your fear that writing a lot will make you a hack is unfounded.

You Can Be Prolific and Good

Where did you get the belief that fast writing is bad writing? It started early. You remember how much time it took to write short articles for school and have come to believe all good writing must take a lot of time. Not so. The writing you did in school took a lot of time because you never did much writing before. You’ve written a lot since then even if you haven’t considered it writing.

Every new thing you learn takes a lot of time at first. Remember how long it took to change a flat tire the first time? After a dozen flat tires, it became a five minute job. Writing is similar. The more times you complete a writing project, the faster you become at that type of project.

Just as you didn’t become better at changing flat tires by doing it slowly, you don’t become a better writer by writing slowly. Write quickly. Make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes. Share your efforts.

Everyone who has mastered a craft has gotten there with practice; lots of practice. You need to write as much as you can. Become a prolific writer. Keep sharing your work, studying more about writing, and trying new types of writing. Improvement is guaranteed.

Writing a lot doesn’t mean you need to be a terrible writer. You can keep learning to write better while you learn to write faster.

Article by Ivan Izo.

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