Wednesday, June 24, 2015

June 24 2015. A book is a series of marathons. Speed has its uses, but you need stamina all the time—and the mind is everything.




I have just read a piece by Bob Baker of pointing out that, with practice, a writer can get his output up considerably. Bob ended up producing about 5,000 words, but said he doubted that was his maximum. I’m sure he is right.

Here are my thought on the matter.

  • Speed is much less important than the quality of your writing. In fact, speed is almost irrelevant in that context.
  • Without question speed can be useful—if only because a writer has a great deal more to attend to than creative  writing. Accordingly, I wish I was a faster and better trained typist for correspondence and the like. Where creative writing is concerned, I find I do fine at 2,000 words a day—3,000 under some circumstances. If I do less, because I was working out some tricky point, I am not the slightest bit concerned. Speed is not my focus. Quality is. How do I determine that? My inner voice tells me—and it has no tact at all.
  • I consider frequency of writing to be more important than either speed or quantity of output. To that end, I try and write for several hours—or longer—every day, and normally do. This help to make turning thoughts into the written word an effortless reflex
  • A great deal of my best work is done when re-writing. Here, I pay almost no attention to speed, but focus obsessively on quality. If I can make just a few improvements on every page—and I almost always can—the difference shines.
  • When you are really in the groove—fully focused—writing to the stretched limits of your capabilities is both extraordinarily hard work—and effortless.

No, I can’t explain. It’s something that is best experienced.

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