21 Reasons Why You Should Write Lots of Fiction Quickly. (Part 3)

Continuing on from yesterday with the final seven reasons why you should write lots of fiction, as quickly as possible.

15.  You improve faster.

I’ve actually seen this idea phrased as “fail faster”, but there’s really no such thing as “failure” in writing, unless failure is used as a euphemism for quitting. 

There are books that find an audience and books that don’t, and the quality of the prose itself has very little to do with it (E.L. James, Dan Brown….). 

Larry Brooks, in Story Engineering, speaks of six core competencies in writing:  Concept, Character, Theme, Structure, Scene Execution and Writing Voice.  Any one of these can be improved.

If you’re only writing one book a year and obsessing over making it perfect for nine months of that year, you’re just stirring a pot of unchangeable ingredients (that are possibly burned, over-cooked or over-seasoned, with no way to reverse the damage).

As soon as you move onto another pot, though, you bring with you all the skills you learned and improved with the making of the last pot.  This pot, you get to begin with fresh ingredients.  It is absolutely going to be better than the last book.

With four books written in a year, you will be a significantly better writer by the end of that year.

If you’re writing, say, a book every 30 days, that’s twelve books a year.  How much better will you be by the end of that year, compared to one book a year, or even four?

16.  Deliberately practice with each book.

Improvement requires deliberate practice

I don’t know about you, but I find the idea of writing a two thousand word “piece” (and oh, how I hate that artsy noun!) immortalizing a flower in a vase a complete waste of time.  The practice you do when it’s “just practice” doesn’t carry a lot of weight.  It doesn’t embed itself.

But if you practice with each book you write, and know that what you write will be out there for readers to see, then the practice itself takes on gravitas.  You deeply absorb the lessons, and you’re already incorporating them into your writing.

With each book, you can decide to focus upon a single, sometimes tiny, element.

“This book, I will tighten up my dialogue tags.”
“This book, I will stop saying ‘but’ so often.”
“This book, I want to include more sense of smell and touch into my descriptions.”

And so on.

You can be more ambitious, too.

“This book, I am going to nail the three act structure.”
“This book, I want to include the most popular tropes of xxx sub-genre.”
“This book, I want to use an unreliable narrator.”
“This book, I’m going to use first person POV.”

The more books you write, the more practice you incorporate, and the more you improve.

Plus, you get feedback on how effectively you’ve practiced from the only people whose opinions matter;  your readers.

17.  Iterative Improvement of Non-Writing Processes

With each book, you learn what not to do—not just with the writing, but the editing and production, promotion, packaging, all of it.

I’m a great proponent of checklists, that I tweak with each book.

Even if checklists make you break out in hives, you will still remember lessons from the previous book and carry them over to this one.  The more books you write, the faster those lessons stack up and the greater the impact on your effectiveness as a writer and indie author.

18.  Gets rid of imposter syndrome.

I don’t think there is an author out there who hasn’t tussled with imposter syndrome early in their career.

It took me five published books before I felt comfortable telling people I wrote novels.

When you have a lot of books out, you start to feel like the real thing.

19.  Builds in Sick & Play Time

I talk about Sick & Play Time a lot in my weekly logs.  Full time indie authors don’t have sick pay or vacation pay building up that they can tap for the occasional day or week off.

If you get sick enough that you can’t write (like I did earlier this year, when I broke my arm), or loved ones get sick and need care, or you desperately have to have time off, then your release schedule is impacted…unless you’re ahead of your production schedule.

This is where maintaining a sustainable marathon pace works beautifully.  You can kick that pace up a notch for a while, to get ahead of your production schedule, so if you are bed-ridden for a bit, nothing dire happens.

How much sick & play time you need is a personal choice and it can fluctuate.  I’m comfortable with a week’s lead time, most of the time.  At the moment, however, I’m working to get six weeks ahead of my production schedule, because I have family coming to Canada for Christmas and would like to not have to stress about word counts while they’re here.

You might want to stash play days for an upcoming vacation.

You might want to build up a two-week lead just so you feel relaxed about your schedule, especially if deadlines (self-imposed or not) tend to cripple you.

Contrariwise, if you believe you’re a person who works best under deadline pressure (cramming exams and assignments, etc), then writing fast to meet your proposed release schedule will work very well for you.  It works even more powerfully if you publish your schedule so readers are aware of it and you risk letting them down if you miss a deadline.  Then it has real world consequences that will keep you focused.

Or you can build up banked time to give yourself room for other projects and not affect your book release schedule.

20.  You don’t get bored.

One of the best reasons to be prolific is that you get to write multiple books and series in different genres and sub-genres.  You can never get bored when you know that this book will be done in two weeks and then you’re on to the next one.

Even if you decide that this book is now absolutely horrid and boring you to tears, you can grit your teeth for a week and get ‘er finished.  Kick it up to sprint speed and you can be done in days.

You can finish a series inside a year, or even multiple series, if they’re short.  You can switch between series, so you get a change of pace with every book (which is what I’m currently doing).

You can write under multiple pen names, if you want to dip into very different and incompatible genres, and neither set of readers will feel deprived, nor will Amazon ding you for missing the 60 or 90 day windows.

You can afford time to indulge, every now and then, and write a “from the heart” book that taps into all your personal touchstones, but may not fit any market.  Plus, because you’ve written so many books before this one, you’ll be able to craft this one and make it sing, and perhaps even shape it to find a market.

Who knows?  With your growing skills, you may write a personal book that actually speaks to readers and finds a market all by itself.  But if it doesn’t, you’ve still had fun and your other books will support your career.

All of the above can be summarised as:  You’ll have more fun writing.

21.  Increases income.

The most prosaic reason for last.

At the base is a simple math equation.  If you sell 1 copy of 1 book a day, for $2 profit, that’s $14 a week profit, or ~$60/month.

If you have a 100 books, and you’re selling 1 copy of each book a day for $2 profit per book, that’s $1,400 a week and $6,000 a month.

That’s a comfortable living for most folk.

Not every book you write will sell even a book a day, of course.  Some will sell very few copies unless you push them, while other books take off and sell hundreds for no reason you can discern (because nobody knows anything).

However, the equation still stands.

Some books won’t sell.  Others take off.  They average each other out. Therefore, the more you have out there, the more you make.  With each additional book you publish, your “base” revenue increases.

All the promos and funnels and other strategies you can employ when you have a lot of books out there will just add to that base.

Increasing revenue increases your revenue, because once your bills are paid, the excess revenue can finance more advertising, better covers, bigger promotions, ambitious book launches, additional formats (audio, print, foreign sales).

More revenue gives you the flexibility to take advantage of sudden or unexpected promotion opportunities.  (Bookbub finally said yes, for example.)

You can attend conferences and conventions and pay for expensive product tables, bring in stacks of print books and process digital payments.  You can pay for professional signage for those tables and not look like a local author afraid to make eye contact with anyone.

You can hire assistants and virtual assistants, contractors and peripheral experts who free up time for you to write even more.

You can employ fulltime staff to take over entire areas of your business.

You can buy better equipment and tools, which increase your efficiency.

All of these scalable strategies will feed right back into your bottom line by increasing your sales.

To Summarise.

When you’re prolific, you have choices and opportunities that the one/two book a year author does not.  You have greater flexibility and you can steer your business with strategies that take advantage of that flexibility.

Prolificacy gives you elbow room to experiment, test, tweak and adjust, and still pay your internet bill.

Prolificacy gives you the resilience to bounce back from mistakes, illnesses and other life rolls, cope with market fluctuations and wholesale changes (algorithm shifts, anyone?), and keep tucker on the table, too.

It is entirely possible to become prolific.  It is not a genetic gift.  It is a mindset and a deliberate choice.  It is a daily habit, a philosophy, and a business strategy.  It is the key to having fun writing fiction, too.

Or you can choose to write a book or two a year and hope they find their audience.

It’s completely up to you.

Write More, Faster Than Ever Before

Are You Prolific?

The Productive Indie Fiction Writer Workbook now available for pre-order!

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