DISCLAIMER: this isn’t to imply that people who don’t produce books quickly aren’t serious about their writing, it’s just a response to how quickly I write. Each author is different, and each one produces books at a pace that suits them.
I often get asked (almost accusingly) how I write so fast. I’ve been told by people who’ve never read my work that I’m sacrificing quality for quantity. True art takes time and precision to produce. Books aren’t something you can pump out in a month or a few weeks. This really irritates me. You don’t know me! You don’t know my life! 😛 The secret is I’m an evil necromancer with hordes of brainless servants I can make write what I want!
But honestly, yes, it does irritate me. Lately I’ve been writing novellas, increasing the length of series to make sure the story flows better. There’s another reason I’ve been writing them, and that’s to do with our culture. Everyone wants what they want, and they want it FAST. I feel novellas have a better market because they are read more quickly. You don’t have to devote a ton of time to them, but you get a nice rounded story if you follow the series along. This doesn’t mean that all of my works will be novellas, but a good majority of them are falling in the 40-50k range. Now, those I can crack out fast. How?
I certainly don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. It honestly doesn’t take your favorite authors a freaking year to write a book! (Unless that’s George RR Martin.) It takes their publisher that long to publish the book. Why? Because your favorite author isn’t the only author they are working with. The writing doesn’t take long, the production, however, does.
When your author knows what they want to write, all it takes is discipline. We don’t find the time to write, we make the time to write. I have a goal of 2k words a day. That’s down from my 5k a day I was doing earlier this year. I know what the story needs to say, and I go for it. Does that mean the story is perfect when it comes out? No. But if you ask any author if their work is perfect they will tell you the same thing. We are all growing, and we are all learning. I’m putting in new practices with future books, but that doesn’t mean it’s taking me longer at all! Most of the new practices are put in place when I edit. Editing is what makes the story richer. When you do a first draft, that’s the time to just get the story out.
I have a huge notebook filled with book ideas, and I have characters vying for my attention. They are all there, just waiting for me to finish a project and devote time to them.
Another thing that helps me? I honestly have nothing but time to write. I am a full time care taker for my mother. I am in the house with her 24/7, that gives me a lot of time to work. But most of my writing happens in the morning before anything else, just so I know it’s done. You see, if the story is there it takes nothing to get it out but time and the constant kicking yourself in the ass to get off Facebook.
I’m an author. That’s what I do. I don’t treat what I do like a dream any longer. I treat it like a job. Everyone goes to work and works their 8 (normally) hour shift. I go to work and work 12 hour shifts. Every day with few exceptions. That promotes a lot of time to get stuff done. Do I have down days? Of course. I have days I won’t even touch my work because I just feel like a big fat phoney and don’t want to taint the quality of my work with negativity. I have days when I’m lazy and don’t get up with my alarm clock and only end up writing 500 words. Those days I feel down on myself and tend to make up for it. I write fast. I can’t help it.
I also trust my editors. If they don’t think something works, I change it. They often know better what works than I do, so I trust that they know what they’re doing, and I go with their lead.
This doesn’t mean every single day is spent writing. I format books for publishers as well as indie authors. But it doesn’t matter what book I’m writing. The Bonds of Blood and The Mirror of the Moon took me one month to write. Not each. Together. Desolation took me three weeks to write. Moral of the story? Authors don’t need to think about every single word they are putting on the page until they edit. When they’re writing they can really crank out those words! They know what they want to write, and they let their characters take over.
But don’t take my word for it. Look how many books Stephen King is putting out. Look how many books Nora Roberts has to her name. George RR Martin is pumping out books that have nothing to do with Game of Thrones, and NY Times Bestselling Author Melissa Foster writes like a crazy person! Do any of these people sacrifice quality? Nope.
I have a saying lately that I love: #BuildYourEmpire. No one is going to hand you want you want, you have to work your ass off for it. You have to devote time to your goals, and you have to go after it like King Kong after Ann Darrow! It takes hard work and time. A lot of times it takes sacrificing time with others to get where you want. It’s not for everyone, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go after what you want. I know what I want, and I’m going after it.