September 3rd, 2015

Me 2012

Writing Advice?

I read a rather peculiar article by Kristine Rusch: peculiar because one of her themes seems to be that wannabe writers are frequently advised they don't need to practice.

Now, I am aware that (a) authors have often been discouraged by publishers from publishing more than two books a year and (b) new writers tend to be in love with their own work regardless of quality (I have certainly always been in love with mine, even when I was 13 and it was appallingly bad). Certainly "you should practice often" is good advice.

It is also the advice I've heard from literally every source about writing. I can't think of any time I've heard "nope, writing a lot is a bad idea. Don't do that" other than as a rumored thing that gets said to published authors because their publisher doesn't want to 'saturate the market'. I can believe Stephen King hears it. I am hard-pressed to imagine Jane Doe, starry-eyed writing student, is hearing it from her teachers. That "it takes a million words or more to find your voice" line that Rusch's essay says writers don't get told? I have heard that many, many times.

In fact, while I've never heard 'writing lots is bad', I have often heard the opposite: 'you can never be successful if you can't finish at least a book a year, at a minimum: you are obviously not good enough/obsessed enough and never will be'.

So I am curious! Is this a thing that happens to other people and I've just missed it? Has anyone else been advised that it's a bad idea to write a lot if you want to be an author?