Even though I know you, skadder, I'm one of those who won't click without having some idea of what I'm clicking on. (Partly because there are many things I don't want to waste my time on, partly because an uncommented link can and often is some sort of spammy phishing something that I don't need in my life.)
Thanks for the clarification, and the link. I do dig DWS's blog, great stuff.
DWS says: "If you write two short stories per year and one novel per year, you will never get there, at least not in a generation or two. But if you write three novels per year and a dozen short stories per year, it won’t take you long at all to pick up real speed and practice enough to learn your craft."
Sounds like there's going to be some quantity v quality issues, but, if you can achieve that output, and actually sell it, then more power to you.
DWS's recommended output led me to a curious observation about my own writer's mindset. I often wondered what kind of pace I would like to write at, given everything else I like to do in life. After some thought, I decided that, at my current skill level (ADD and dyslexia factor into this, BTW), I would be comfortable with a two novel and two to three short story output per year. It's not like I don't have enough ideas to draw from, so I figured this pace was doable.
Except, I reminded myself that I have a full time job. Two, if you include raising my kids.
I immediately concluded that such a pace would be attainable only if I did not have to work for a living.
Disturbing as it was, I realized I was abstaining from even making an attempt at the pace I wanted.
Obviously, that mindset is on its way out of my thought process. Now, I still might not match that desired output level, but I see no sense in denying myself the opportunity to strive for it.
Actually...after reading DWS's passage, I'm thinking that a three novel per year output sounds pretty damned cool.
Jk Rowling did pretty good with one novel a year, she's richer than the queen. (Of course any mention of her should include one of those "Results not typical" thingies they put on weight loss commercials.)
Personally I think the increased output thing is about increasing your experience writing, this is the same thing as you need to write a million (actual numbers may vary) words of pure crap before you start get good. So it's a quantity makes quality thing. (Well, we should hope that your hundredth story is better than your third.)
Personally I think there is a logical fallacy hidden somewhere in the mindset that writing fast has less quality and writing slow has more quality. There are much more variables that go into it. When I write fast I usually produce a more cohesive story, when I go slow I tend to go off on irrelevant things that I end up cutting later. I lose focus when I write slow.
Three novels a year means you take four months on each, plus a short for each month. That doesn't seem too terrible, particularly if you do the research for the next novel while your doing the last one. Of course this is writing a few hours a day I think. That's not too terribly possible for most of us. But if I did sell a novel chances are pretty good I'd make more on a lousy advance than I can make a year in my current job. (Which is 20 hrs a week a toothpick over minimum wage.)
I had in mind what's she going to write next. Harry Potter Eight? Sequels or prequels? Or maybe that rumored mystery novel?
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There is a tremendous amount of truth in the idea (supposedly proven) that to be an expert at something one must put in at least ten thousand hours of practice. see; (This is Your Brain on Music, the Science of a Human Obsession; Daniel J. Levitin, pg. 197,) which is 3 hours a day or 20 hours per week for over 10 years. Is 20 hours of writing a week too much for most of us? Probably... due to the current state of the 'Union'. Right Pyre Dynasty... Our collective 'bosses' are not standing in line to open the money faucet over our heads, so to speak. Just thoughts on the matter.
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Skadder, you miserable spambot, you! (wink)
Great link, if nobody has read it yet.
Kris and Dean covered this in their June workshop. Really an eye-opening moment for me. I think most of us are so focused on break-in and those first sales/advances, we don't stop to consider that a well-managed portfolio of books and stories can yield decades of dividends.
Like I mentioned at this particular post, writer Williams Sanders -- now retired -- got a tidy little three-digit check a month or two ago. For something he wrote YEARS in the past, and had all but forgotten about. PING! A check shows up in his mailbox one day, and it was because of something in his contracting for that very story; and he'd forgotten all about it.
My dream is to manage my "pie" such that it's providing me with my entire income by the time I am in my 50's. Get some books going, keep current in the short story market, pick up some options from Hollyweird, maybe gaming rights... There is way, way more money to be made, beyond the advance or the check from the digest.
I like the idea of my work making money as time went by...never thought to apply it to writing SF, though. I thought I'd have to get into the songwriting racket, or something like that...
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Would a writer able to crank out four or more novels publishable in a year _have_ to publish under pseudonyms?
It seems like mass-market and genre authors put out a book a year or so. I'm predisposed to think that anyone who published four novels a year would be writing dross. Now that I think about it, though, the only reason I believe that one novel a year is the average rate of a quality author is how often the books hit the market.