Tuesday, June 13, 2017 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Pressure to Produce? by @lcrandallwriter

I’ve mentioned to anyone nearby that I expect to finish my WIP this week. It feels like it is taking forever to write. It’s the book that will never end. But I also know that I’m purposely writing with more deliberation. I am taking the time it takes to go deep into the characters and the plot. The “problem” is not actually a problem.

There is a lot of pressure in today’s publishing world to produce, and to produce quickly. It makes sense when one considers the steady flow of books entering the market, and that independent authors seem to have the ability to write fast. To be competitive, it feels important to publish often and many. So how long should it take to write a 60,000-word novel, for instance? 

I’ve had eight books published, including an anthology, over the past few years. I wrote several of them in about 12 to 16 weeks. It was challenging to complete them in that time frame because of my freelance writing and editing, as well as the rest of my life needing attention. It was wonderful to have the books release relatively close together. I’m happy with those books. Producing fast and furiously is not a bad thing.

So when I began researching and writing for my present WIP, I read things that promised to teach me to produce quickly. I read How to Write A Novel in 30 Days and How to Write A Novel in 7 Days. Others have done it, why couldn’t I?

Well, I don’t think I could have written that fast and write the book I’m trying to write now. For me, the question – how long does it take to write a novel – can be answered with, as long as it takes. I am fully aware that writing is a business. I prioritize writing and write, even when I feel blocked or busy. After writing a number of books, I might expect writing to be getting easier. For me, it’s not. Not yet, anyway. With this book, writing has been harder. I’m pushing myself to develop my skills, and that takes time. I sit at my computer and sink into the situation and setting my character is in and let my sense of it inform my writing. Each character has a way of relating and dealing with his or her environment and their problems or joys. I’ve always done this, but this time I’m digging deeper, giving my brain more time to sit with possibilities and find the words that best put the reader into the scene and help them experience the story, not just read it. I’m enjoying the writing of this book no more or less than previous books, but it has been slower and harder. Still, I’m proud of myself for taking the time I need and for expanding my skills until they are second nature.

Speed may be the result of becoming more proficient in the way I want to write my books, but for now, more depth is the goal.

I'd love to know what you think about authors producing fast and furiously. It's fun to not have to wait to have books out steadily from favorite authors, but are there any down sides? As an author, do you struggle to fit in enough writing time with your every day life to be able to produce steadily?

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HiDee said...

Sometimes I think authors are pushed to write faster than they are comfortable with, and I think it shows in their writing. Rushed endings bother me!

Maris said...

I can understand readers wanting their favorite authors to produce more and faster, but I've often discovered that books written by authors I initially love lose the elements that drew me to them in subsequent books. The more the author produces (and the faster), the more the books become cookie-cutters of the earlier (successful) books.

Kathleen Rowland said...

What a fascinating topic, Lynn Crandall. Some writers are driven to churn out books fraught with saggy middles and grammatical errors. Quality is the best way to go but takes more time. Also we need to exercise and live normal lives. Sitting too long is fattening, ha ha.