I have upped my game.
It’s time to start blogging and writing fiction more regularly now. I’ve recruited my college buddy Mike to be a deadline-giving ball-buster for my fiction. Deadlines are life for me, a typical procrastinator. I deliver a certain word count to Mike every Sunday. The deal is he can read them or not. What matters is the amount of words.
Mike has been such a huge help already. I don’t want to write too much about this deal we’ve entered, so as not to jinx it. But I just want to give him a shout out. Volunteering to be my “accountability boss” is a huge thing.
Another reason I am upping my word output is the expectations of the writing world. Paltry word counts just don’t make it. Sure, slow and steady can win a race now and then, but it won’t earn you many seeds in the next round.
This article, written by an agent, talks about how literary agents don’t want to hear how a writer took 3 years to produce a novel. Agents strive for “name recognition” and that sort of phenomenon is easier to keep up when books are banged out in short amounts of time.
Of course, there are exceptions to everything. Other agents would probably say “Depends on the previous book’s success.” I guess? But if you look at Paula Hawkins of “The Girl on the Train” fame, you’ll see a steady stream of books. One every two years, or thereabouts (she wrote earlier books, not all listed here, under the pen name “Amy Silver.”)
- Guerrilla Learning: How to Give Your Kids a Real Education With or Without School (2001) (Amy Silver) (with co-author Grace Llewellyn) ISBN 9780471349600
- Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista (2009) (Amy Silver) ISBN 9780099543558
- All I Want for Christmas (2010) (Amy Silver) ISBN 9780099553229
- One Minute to Midnight (2011) (Amy Silver) ISBN 9780099564638
- The Reunion (2013) (Amy Silver) ISBN 9780099574491
- The Girl on the Train (2015) (Paula Hawkins) ISBN 9781594634024
- Into the Water (2017) (Paula Hawkins) ISBN 9780735211209
I’m reading her followup to TGOTT, Into the Water. It’s as entertaining, if not better. And she pumped that sucker out in less than two years total, judging by the timing. My guess is she spent 6 months writing it. That is lightning quick compared to my current speed.
Publishing is a business. This is a mantra everyone says all the time. Screenwriters are expected to punch out their products in two or three *weeks.* I can stand to up my daily word counts.
Part of that word count is fiction. Part is an already established professional job as a copy writer/blogger for clients. Part of it will be blogging here and at another hyperlocal blog I run in my town. Adding to this is another writing pastime I’ve posted about, snail mail letter writing. My life will become, even more than it is now, all about words, words, and more words. At least, that is my goal. I want to see what living like a productive and prolific writer is like. Wish me luck.
Paula Hawkins books image by Google (screenshot)