Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Quantity leads to quality writing

I spend a lot of time in the car and use audiobooks to pass the time. I am currently listening to a collection of stories from "Black Mask" magazine. Black Mask was a pulp magazine that was popular in the 30's, 40's, and 50's and published many great wrters of "hard boiled fiction" such as Dashell Hammet and Raymond Chandler. Another author who got his start in the pulps was Earl Stanley Gardener, the creator of Perry Mason. The book gives a brief biographical sketch of each writer featured. What I found interesting about Gardner was his sheer productivity--for decades he averaged an amazing 1.2 million words a year. This is the equivalent of a new novel every 3 1/2 weeks. There is a lot of research on the effect of practice, of the "10,000 hours" rule. Researchers have found that the best way to become truly skilled at anything is to spend a lot of time doing that thing. Gardner was a great writer because he did a great deal of writing.

This is a good lesson for anyone who is dedicated to the craft of writing. Another key to writing success is to get your work in front of other people who can give you feedback that will help you improve your work. The Ligonier Valley Writer's conference is a great place to meet creative people you will enjoy being with and who will help you become the writer you want to be.

Keep your fingers on the keyboard, the ideas flowing and your dreams alive.

Thanks for reading this blog. Please feel free to post your comments and to share this link.

Jim Busch   

No comments:

Post a Comment