It's Better To Be Prolific Than Original

Discussion in 'Writing & Publishing Discussion' started by Phy, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. Phy

    Phy Senior Member

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    Brandon Sanderson seems to churn out a new book every six months. Walter Mosley puts out a new novel every three months. There's something to be said for writing a lot (and as I noted recently, the more you write, the more often you can expect to be visited by the Muse. In this article, Chris Smith sings the praises of writing a lot.

    BE RADICALLY CREATIVE

    In his book Originals, writer and thinker Adam Grant considers what it takes to be a creative radical and concludes that being hugely productive is a super-important part.

    He covers the work of Prof. Dean Simonton, a psychologist who’s spent many years studying creative productivity. Early on in his work, he discovered two things about highly creative people. First, that they’re woefully bad at knowing when their own work is going to be a hit or a miss and second that it’s their capacity for productivity (which they have in spades) that makes them original, not their innate talent.

    Simonton writes: “On average, creative geniuses aren’t qualitatively better in their fields than their peers, they simply produce a greater volume of work which gives them more variation and a higher chance of originality.”

    If you want to be original the most important possible thing you can do is to do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work.” — Ira Glass, producer of This American Life and Serial.
     
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  2. suspensewriter

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    My son sent me over to his website because he didn't think I was writing fast enough (2 years on this latest book and 200,000 words with about 30,000 more to go). The site is http://www.writingexcuses.com/ and it's interesting and fun.

    Re the Originals and the premise, one tactical issue which I've noticed gives some advantage is Dragon Naturally Speaking and a good, professional quality wireless headset. First, we can speak a minimum of twice as fast as most of us regular writers type, and there is the stimulation of walking around and having hands free while writing. Getting the body moving helps get the brain moving, too, I guess. All of this pumps up the output, too.
     
  3. Phy

    Phy Senior Member

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    One of my favorite things is reading how different writers write - it's almost unique from writer-to-writer.
     
  4. Nicola

    Nicola Member

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    I'm producing all manner of creativity, but it might not all be writing.... Folding laundry in an artistic manner requires genius. o_O
     
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  5. SmartrykFoster

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    Writers who produce a large volume of work have more variation for consumers to choose from. The writer may write 10 different books that appeal to 10 different people, so the writer might reach a wider audience, get a bigger fanbase, earn revenue from multiple sources, etc. Putting out a lot of work is a good idea, as long as the work is good.

    And a writer can't write the same story twice. The stories have to feel like different stories otherwise the audience will quickly realize that they're basically reading the same story again and again. That forces the writer to write something that he/she hadn't thought of before, and therein lies creativity. (Necessity is the mother of invention, or at least the catalyst to try.)

    Writing something that you've never written before can also expose flaws in your understanding, knowledge, or technique. Addressing those flaws and learning as a result of them can make you a better writer which raises the quality of your work (all your work, if you can apply some of the things you've learned to things that you already know how to write).

    I think Einstein said that genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.
     
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  6. Phy

    Phy Senior Member

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    Very close - that's an Edison quote but is better for it due to his relentless pursuit of the light bulb. I agree with the rest.
     
  7. Robert Johnson

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    Hey, pretty good. You have a way of encouraging by highlighting the work of others. Thanks. It's kind of like the advice that is often given to photographers. The secret to taking great pictures is to take a lot of them....
     
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  8. Janie

    Janie Member

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    I am finally trying to take this advice after years of foolishly sitting around and waiting for inspiration to strike. Yes, writing is easier to do well/a lot more fun when you're feeling inspired. But will you ever finish that novel if you only write when you're inspired? Probably not. My current goal is to write *something* every day, be it poetry, a journal entry, a blog post, or another page in a novel. It's not a very lofty goal, but it's what I can manage at the moment, and I can gradually increase from here.

    Interesting side note: I have found that my spiritual/mental/emotional health has a tremendous effect on my writing. When I find myself unable to write, it's frequently because there's an unaddressed problem lurking about somewhere in my life. So a goal of daily writing actually helps me to be more in tune with my overall health as well as being more creative. Does anyone else find this to be the case?
     
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  9. Janie

    Janie Member

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    All hail the creative laundry folders of this world!

    I'm pretty good at the creative laundry washing, myself.
     
  10. SmartrykFoster

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    I've found that, when I'm interested in something, it's easier to write about it. So I have to be interested in what I'm writing. If I'm not writing it in a way that engages me, I tune out (and so would the audience, I think).

    If I'm bored, I don't write well. But if I'm engaged, I tend to write a lot.

    And if I'm stuck or there's a blockage, it usually means that there's a problem in something that I've written and I need to go back and find it. Usually, it's a part that didn't 'feel right' when I was writing it. I have to re-work from there.

    I have also noticed that problems from other areas of life can affect my writing because they distract me. If I'm thinking about an unresolved problem from elsewhere, it's hard to be engaged in writing because that other problem is competing for attention.
     
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