Snippets of an Author’s Life: Post 4
In May of this year, Copyblogger released an article entitled One Skill that Will Take Your Writing from Good to Great. The key message taken away from the described writing course was “Not that we needed to self-edit more tightly or have better ideas. It was this: If we wanted to be truly great writers, we had to first write many, many words. And then we had to be willing to walk away from the majority of them.”
These lines resonated with me, because the first image that came to mind was my tower of three-inch binders housing versions of Beyond the Precipice along with countless scenes—all discarded. And since many of my writing files were not even printed, I may never truly know how much I had written in just the past ten years, but you can be sure it’s a lot.
I may only have a novel, a few short stories, and some articles to show for the endless hours of writing, but my process earned me the greatest compliment a first-time novelist could receive: “The prose is very polished and the story tightly written. I found virtually nothing to cut (much to my amazement, I have to admit)” (Tom Hyman, editorial consultant, former editor for major publishing houses and magazines, screenwriter for Paramount Pictures and Cannell Studios, and author of seven books printed in over a dozen languages). I had been ruthless with Beyond the Precipice, you can be sure.
Tom Hyman went on to describe and praise many other aspects of the book in a four-page critique letter that ultimately changed my life, giving credence to the value of writing “many, many words” and then “walk[ing] away from the majority of them.”
“Quantity produces quality.
If you only write a few things, you’re doomed.”