What Does Being a Prolific Fiction
Writer Really Mean?
You might already be prolific.
I’ve hammered out a definition for prolific indie fiction writers that doesn’t look quite like any other definition out there.
As I talk about prolificacy a lot, I wanted to define it here, as there are a lot of misconceptions (and arguments) about what “prolific” means in writing terms.
Anyone can knock off a book in a week.
Anyone. All it requires is a Georges Simenon approach: Rent a hotel room/cabin by a pond, lock out every possible interruption, and write your ass off for 18+ hours a day. Sleep is optional. So is the medical checkup prior to undertaking the challenge (although Simenon visited his doctor before every book he wrote).
I’ve plotted and written a book in seven days. It was 53,000 words, which is squarely inside the definition of a novel. I plotted for two days, then wrote 10K+ on each of the remaining five days.
I could do it again if I really had to, but certainly not straight after finishing the first book that quickly.
Then there’s a marathon pace.
A prolific author turns out books fast and consistently, at a maximum speed they can maintain over the long haul. This is important.
There is a sprint speed that is good for short bursts (a book in seven days), and a sustainable marathon pace that allows you to live a life while you’re doing it (a book every four weeks, say).
What that speed is depends on you, your life, your commitments.
The pace can change according to seasons, age, inclination, health, and the unexpected wrenches that life will throw at you. Physical fitness will impact your pace, too.
Being prolific has nothing to do with the *number* of books you write
Notice that the length of the book and how many words an hour you write are not part of the definition, although both will impact how many books you produce each year. These numbers are far too subjective to use as a measuring tool.
Neither is the number of books per year defined exactly. This, too, depends on subjective variables.
A workable definition of “prolific”
With these caveats in mind, a workable definition would be:
A prolific indie fiction author has a streamlined, high-efficiency work process that allows them to write, produce and publish multiple books per year at a maximum sustainable rate.
Depending on your personal circumstances, you could already be a prolific writer, because you’re producing books at the best pace that the limitations of your life allow. Yes, even if that’s only a book or three a year.
If you’ve maximized your writing time, smoothed out the bumps and roadblocks life throws up, and you’re being as productive as possible within your circumstance, plus you’re sustaining it year after year, you’re prolific.