Rabbits & Typewriters: On Being Prolific

“I could be a successful writer, too, if only I had the time.”

I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard aspiring writers bemoan their lack of time, their inability to get any writing done with distractions, with family and work obligations.  Since it’s not likely anyone will give you any more time, in order to be a serious writer you have to find ways to make the most of the time you have, and how to be as productive as possible.

Back in the heyday of pulp fiction magazines, when freelancers tried to make a living by writing stories that paid half a cent per word (at most), they had to produce, produce, produce.  “Be prolific or starve” was their motto.  Armed with manual typewriters and carbon paper, the most popular and prolific writers managed to crank out entire novels in only a few days, or stories and novelettes in a single sitting.

Today, with an arsenal of writing tools that includes word processors, email, scanners, internet research, and lightning-fast printers, it’s got to be easy for modern authors to be even more prolific, right?

Life is crazy and hectic for most of us.  We’ve got jobs, fitness programs, mountains of correspondence by snail and email, video games, TiVo, cell phones, Blackberries, family and friend obligations, and a million things to read online.  How does an aspiring author find the time to write?

And when you do find the time, how do you make the most of it?

In subsequent blogs I will be describing eleven techniques that I and other prolific authors use to increase their writing productivity—ways we have discovered to keep a writing session going a bit longer, or to squeeze out a few more words or pages in each sitting.  Because I’ve gotten suggestions from different writers, they aren’t all applicable to every situation—some are even contradictory—but try the techniques.  Some may work well for you.

new paperback cover for Terra Incognita #2 (due out June 2011)

This blog series is part of a lecture I’ll be presenting at the Superstars Writing Seminar in January 13–15 in Salt Lake City, a three-day intensive workshop focused on business and careers in writing.  Other instructors include Brandon Sanderson, Sherrilyn Kenyon, David Farland, Rebecca Moesta, and Eric Flint.  We hope to see you there.  www.superstarswritingseminars.com

Note that Early Bird pricing goes up on December 1.