Monday, April 26, 2010

On not being prolific

I may have worked on my next book for almost four years, but by no means do I have hundreds of pages to show for it.

Maybe I'm too critical with what I write, but I do a lot of editing when I write. There's always room for more editing later. I write what I hope will make the final cut. In other words, I don't believe I have a problem with written diarrhea.

But maybe I should have this "problem" in the writing process?

I recently read an interview with an author whose parents have been very prolific in their careers as writers, and it looks like he is continuing that trail. Claiming to have written almost thirty pages in only two days for his next book, I wonder if any of those twenty-something pages will amount to anything for the final cut.

The truth is, I'm not a big fan of cutting a lot of stuff. Not to brag, but I try to leave as little excess stuff in the final draft. With POST, only a couple big portions were clipped between the rough draft stage to the final draft stage. I had drafts of chapters that I later abandoned after I decided how the book's narrative arc should really be. I figured what I really wanted to say could be consolidated into the Jimmy Eat World chapter and the epilogue, and I never looked back.

Now with When We Were the Kids, I'm still throwing as much possible onto the page, but before such happens, I ask, "Will this be a good thing or will this be a pointless detour?" I could just write and write and write off the top of my head, but if most of that stuff will be cut later, I wonder why I let myself go like that.

Maybe I should just let the diarrhea happen. I have roughly seventy pages in Word (roughly less than 200 pages in book form), so maybe I should just let the rope loose and see what swings.

1 comment:

J at said...

I'm not a writer, so I can't speak to that. But when I write my blog posts, I do try to keep them clean and only write what is going to stay. In my case, it's because I hate editing, and second-guessing myself drives me crazy.

I think that whatever rate you write at is the right rate for you. (That felt like a tongue twister for my fingers.) Good luck with your book.