The Mathematics of Productivity
Due to a confluence of deadlines, I found myself finishing three novel manuscripts in two weeks—The Key to Creation for Orbit/Hachette (172,000 words), The Sisterhood of Dune, with Brian Herbert, for Tor (161,000 words), and the second YA space adventure Star Challengers with Rebecca Moesta, for Catalyst. Two solid weeks of 12-hour days, 7 days a week. (Yes, I did deliver all three books to the proper recipients, on time—see my November 15 blog entry.)
What KJA wants you to believe is that he write all three books over a two week span. Now we who follow his twats know better but this is no surprise. Keith will omit the whole truth in order to make himself look like a GOD when in fact he everything he writes is the lowest common denominator crap that is interchangeable with every other thing he has written.
That schedule was crazy even for me, but I’ve always been a very productive writer. Over my twenty or so years as a novelist, I’ve published more than 100 books—about five a year, on average.
I'm the best, see how many books I've written?
Now, some snobs out there will be rolling their eyes with the ingrained—but completely wrong—assumption that “productivity equals poor quality.” I can point to the fact that 47 of my books have hit national or international bestseller lists, including 19 on the New York Times list; my novels have won or been nominated for most of the major awards in my field, have received half a dozen starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, included on numerous “year’s best” lists; one was even named a New York Times Notable Book.
Here we go. Someone has had their feeling hurt. Now what major awards have you actually won in the science fiction field? Waits. Waits some more. Well?
How many of those forty-seven books were NOT part of an established brand? Star Wars, X-Files, and Dune were established names before KJA wrote stories in established universes.
Some of the greatest writers in literature wrote quickly—many of them in longhand. Alexandre Dumas, Jules Verne, and Charles Dickens were amazingly prolific, and their works have remained on bookshelves for more than a century and a half. Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol, one of the best-loved novels of all time, in a feverish frenzy that lasted about six weeks. William Faulkner wrote his classic As I Lay Dying in the same amount of time and claimed to have published his first draft “without changing a word.”
According to KJA, speed equals quality.
Productivity equals poor quality? Yeah, right.
No, quality has ZERO to do with productivity.
For some reason, though, snobs complain when a writer produces “too many books” (as determined by some arbitrary scale), as if ideas and stories are somehow in short supply in a good writer’s imagination. They don’t understand the mathematics of productivity.
Really? I thought this was about quality? Productivity, and it is obvious that KJA equates quality with high productivity, and quality are subjective. It doesn't matter if a writer writes one book every five years or ten books a year. What matters is the finished product. What matters is how people react to the book. What matters is the effort put into the finished product. Pissing and moaning about other people, watching tv all the time, and being a douche, all while saying you are working hard shows how little effort actually goes into the final product.
An author who writes one book a year—which the snobs would consider an “acceptable” level of productivity—almost certainly cannot make a living by writing (sorry, that’s just the plain truth) and works another full-time job to pay the bills. I’ve talked with many such authors and noted their writing schedules. To get pages done in the available time between work, personal, and family obligations, that person might manage an hour or two in the evenings, some during the weekends, devoting maybe ten hours per week to actual writing. Over the course of a year, the writer will spend ~520 hours to writing and editing the novel—which is apparently the right amount of time on the Snob-o-Meter.
Hey KJA, you actually have any numbers to back that assertion up? I know of a lot of writers who never write more than four hours a day and publish a book every couple of years who write entertaining, thought provoking work, and do not put down other writers at the same time.
The full-time writer, on the other hand, can work all day long on writing and editing, all week long. For my own part, I put in 8–10 hours a day, usually six or seven days a week. Even on a conservative estimate, I can devote 520 hours to producing a novel manuscript—the “acceptable” amount of time a writer should spend on a book, see above—in 11 weeks.
In other words, a full-time writer who is willing to devote the same number of hours on a writing career as, say, a restaurant owner devotes to running a restaurant, can write five books a year, spending 520 hours each on writing and editing. (In fact, that has been my average output over the course of my career as a novelist.)
Full time writers cannot write non-stop for eight hours day in day out. Steven Pressfield writes for four hours a day, most Hollywood screen writers write around four to five hours a day, it is just not possible.
Maybe you should spend more time on your "writing." Half of every book is nothing more than recapping what happened. The characters are cardboard cutouts that bare no resemblance to the originals, and finally, idiotic plot points that make readers want to throw the book across the room.
Yes, the snobs who see an author’s byline on too many book covers over the course of a year may assume that the novels are rushed or sloppy, when in fact the author may well have spent as many hours or more on each manuscript as a one-book-a-year, part-time writer does.
It’s just simple mathematics.
No, it's an author who cannot face the truth that he is a hack, who refuses to admit that he is limited in ability, and must belittle and tear down others to make himself feel better because his "success" comes on the backs of other more talented people.