Saturday, March 24, 2018


...Some authors swear by it.
I'm not talking the chemical version, though some authors (one of them that guy up in Maine who wrote The Shining), have admitted to swallowing speed in order to boost productivity levels. I'm talking about one's natural ability to write a lot of good to great content and do it fast, or faster than the average author who maybe puts out one book per year. Prolific is the word I'm going for here.

Don't write so much

In the past I've written about agents and/or editors who have asked me to slow down, take some time off, don't put out so much material...whatever. While they might have defended their position by going on to say that time off would be good for me, I now realize they were more or less watching out for their own best interests. Publishers and agents can't wrap their brains around high volume clients.

Dean Wesley Smith who's published 400+ books knows the true meaning of being prolific

Pulp writers wrote and wrote and got rich

The writers of the Pulp generation (the 1920s-1960s) were able to write lots of words and do so everyday, day in and day out. Some of these authors made millions for their bank accounts. They weren't writing with speed necessarily, but their output was steady, consistent, and they did it knowing that the more good work they produced, the more they would get paid.

Writing school discourages speed

Back in writing school, one of my profs wrote and published a novel in 1975, and never published again. I overheard another one telling a fellow student, "I don't make any money from my writing. I train dogs for that." Yet another wrote only when the he felt inspired and another told me to my face that in the course of his lifetime, maybe he would write five or six very good stories. Huh? I guess that's why these people were teaching. Not for love of the game, but for the payday. I've always made my money from putting words together (discounting my days in the construction business). It takes discipline and it takes speed. These were things that were not taught in writing school. If anything, writing school taught me to write slowly and in some cases, not at all.

Writing as exercise

Writing for me is like exercise. If I don't do it on a daily basis...if I don't work hard...I don't feel right. It's as if my soul left my body and went on vacation for a while. So I write, everyday. Many people think I'm fast. I'm not (I still type with two fingers). I'm just consistent. This isn't a hobby. It's my work. My livelihood. 

Listen, if I listened to every agent or publisher out there who told me to slow down, I'd be broke. But then, there was a time not so long ago, prior to the indie revolution and hybrid publishing (I'm a hybrid guy, meaning I publish traditionally and indie), where I was dependent upon these same agents and publishers who told me to slow down. Take your time, they said. Meanwhile, they would maybe take months upon months going over one of my manuscripts. If and only if, it were taken on by a publisher, it would then sit around for another year or more before pub date. My advance, even if it was large, would be quickly swallowed up by the agent, the tax man, and the daily bills, not to mention those pesky credit cards many of us writers had to live on while we were taking our time.

 Independent writers

We were slaves then, at the mercy of the process. And the process people, was very, very, very fucking slow. Death by a thousand cuts. Not anymore. Now I can write what I want, when I want, and as much as I want. I can put the material out there for the world and my readers can buy direct. Oh, and I get paid once a month. Doesn't mean I don't work with traditional publishers because I do. It's just that I'm not dependent on them anymore. I'm free. Independent. No longer at the mercy of others.

Speed, it doesn't kill. It frees.


1 comment:

  1. Great article! Good thing no one told Charles Dickens to slow down. I was also curious about your comment on hybrid publishing. I have just published a book through a hybrid publisher and wonder if you have ever written anything about marketing (other than article about book signings) ???