In my last blog post I talked about three pervasive writing myths and how continued belief in them stymies writers.
That post turned out to be rather popular, with lots of likes and shares on Facebook, so I thought I would take one of those myths–that writing fast is bad–and numerate a few of the reasons why writing fast is actually so very good for authors and their writing careers.
So without further preamble, here goes:
1. Fail Faster, Learn Faster
It should go without saying that the best way to learn how to write is by writing. Sure, you should read books on business and craft, but you’ll only get the most out of those if you actually put some of their tenets into practice by sitting down and doing the writing.
Now, within this framework, you’ve got two choices. You can slowly and laboriously write–slaving over every word and editing as you go instead of waiting until the end–and produce a finished book once every year or two, or you can compress all that learning and doing into a few months, producing one or more finished novels in the process. They say it takes ten thousand hours to become truly proficient at something. Would you rather have those ten thousand hours spread over years or compressed down into a more manageable time frame? Sure, six of one, have a dozen of the other. I’ll give you that. But unless you’ve discovered some miracle aging cure, I’ll bet you’re not getting any younger. I know I sure as hell aren’t.
The time is going to pass anyway. Why not spend it doing something awesome?
2. Get in the Flow
Think of your last brilliant passage. It could be a whole page, or a single paragraph. Remember how you composed it? Was it written in the heat of the moment? Or did you agonize over every other word? It was probably the first one, am I right?
This is because you were in what know-it-all scientist types call Flow State, that weird mental zone you enter where everything just clicks in your brain, and the writing flows from you with seemingly little conscious effort. This is the magic time, when you finally get out of your own way and let things just happen. Dean Wesley Smith calls this ignoring your critical voice. You know, that
annoying voice in the back of your head that questions and second-guesses every bit of golden prose that leaks out of your fingers and onto your keyboard? Yeah. That guy. Ball-gag and forget about him until you’re ready to edit, once the work is done. That’s what flow state does for you. And it only comes when you get in the habit of writing fast.
3. Less Editing
Everyone usually equates fast writing with sloppy writing, when the fact is nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, you have to clean up typos. But even slow writers who produce prose at a glacial pace have to do that. I’m not talking about transposed letters and typing ‘there’ when you meant ‘their.’
No, I’m talking about the usual editing that all of us have to and should do. It’s just part of the writing process. But as has been proven time and again by people who write fast, like the aforementioned DWS and Chris Fox, who recently wrote and edited a novel in a record 21 days and launched it on Amazon to great success.
4. Faster Time to Market
We come at last to the biggie, the raison d’etre of being an honest to God, making a living career fiction writer (or any writer, for that matter). This is the business end of writing, and I know most of you want to shut down at this point because, for you, the term “time to market” is right up there with your output being called “content” and people who refer to books as “units.”
Well too bad. I hate to break it to you, but you’re in a business. Creative, yes. But at the end of the day, still a business. And you have to treat it as such. Especially in this new age of indie publishing.
In this new world, Amazon and the other digital publishers pay you once a month. And the more books you have out there, the more visible they will be, the more copies you will sell, and the more money you will make.
See, every time you publish you have a shot of being on Amazon’s Hot New Releases list for that month. Put out a book a month, and you could be on it each and every month, which would show your book to thousands of potential readers. Doesn’t that sound like a good reason to write a little faster than you are already? Hit me up with your thoughts in the comments.