Stepping Up My Writing Output

I am amazed at the output of professional writers, and used to think I could not write full time or even part time so only write for an hour or two, three or four days each week.

But … after following Dean Wesley Smith’s blog for over a year, I am beginning to think differently.

He puts in a full day (or in his case, night) writing novels and in his spare time writes short stories. He has set a goal of a certain number of short stories this year, on top of his full time writing.

If you read his blog you will realise he takes half an hour some days, or an hour other days, and is completing short stories, including creating the covers, formating and uploading to the web sites, and writing a blog about each story.

If you only read the blog and not the stories because, like me, you don’t like reading short stories, you will realise the time involved is not much, but the outcome of these short stories is positive.

First, he adds to his ebook collection, and each short story downloaded and read leads the readers to other stories in his collection.

Second, even though the pricing is US$0.99, he is making income from his stories.

Third, he can combine three or more short stories with similar themes or characters into a larger book and sell them.

Forth, he is remaining in front of readers, because of his blogs.

There is no way I would set a goal of writing 100 short stories this year, but I can set small goals of writing short stories on the characters in the novels or in other genres. The short stories could lead to other ideas for more novels.

So, I am rethinking my writing practices. If I think of each scene, or a few scenes, as a short story, I could write one a week, after I complete my scenes for the current novel, then over the weekend, read through and edit, create a cover and upload, adding to my collection.

If I am stalled on the novel, trying to work out how the characters can get out of trouble, I could switch to a second project until the problem is solved. An added bonus is I love coming up with ideas and plotting, so I would enjoy the extra hour or so writing.

The short story projects could help build my confidence in trying other genres.

Secondly, I could keep to my novel but write more than one scene each day, keeping track of the time I write, and completing my novel sooner. I should already be tracking my time but have not bothered so far.

What about you? Are you prepared to watch less TV or whatever, to write more words each day? Do you like writing and reading short stories?

Should a few of us pick a theme and genre and all write a short story, put them into one ebook and get it on the sites?


8 comments so far

  1. Curiocat on

    As you know I’ve been reading DWS’s blogs, too. He, and some of his commenters, are extremely prolific. I think this is due in part to his long history in the business and the experience gained therein. It could also be genetics, lol. A good point he makes is that his quantity is what gives him his experience and he uses it to write quick and efficiently. I have read through his stories. I’ll be honest and say I think the voice he uses is similar throughout his stories but they are quality pieces. I like the challenges and goals he’s set and I’m aiming to set a few for myself. I’m already on my way.

    I think it would be fun to do as you suggest and put together an ebook of short stories.

    • djmills on

      What length are you aiming for? I am surprised at the number of downloads of my free 29K short story. There are obviously a lot of readers who like short stories. I seem to write longer short stories, but I guess I could learn the skill of cutting out description and sub plots to keep the main story tight.

      • Angela/Curiocat on

        I’m going to aim btwn 5 to 10K. My idea at this point is to write a short story for every holiday in 2011 and put them up on my website. Don’t know if they’ll be worth reading but I think it would be fun to do. I have, btw, been offered to make a short film from the little short story called Rat Race. I laughed when the guy offered but hey? How many times does someone offer to make a short film from something you write? Hope you are safe btw with all these cyclones and flooding happening.

      • djmills on

        Congrats and well done. Have fun writing the script.

        I do like the idea of a short story for each holiday. Have fun with that too. πŸ™‚

  2. Tanja on

    I would never be able to keep up with him, give me 10 years and I might be there πŸ™‚
    Regarding productivity, it’s amazing how much of a difference even a small increase of writing time can make. I’m hoping that this increase will come naturally as I get used to writing daily. At the moment I can do an hour or maybe two of focused writing at a time.

    • djmills on

      Yes, Tanja, it is the routine of writing each day that gets us to produce, but I want to try to extend the length of time. πŸ™‚ I also prefer to complete one project before starting another, but your exercises of seed ideas has now given me a few more projects waiting to start. Hopefully after the Australian Open Tennis finishes, I can get writing.

  3. Texanne on

    These discussions about extreme productivity among writers are popping up everywhere, and they generate lots of feelings in me. Jealousy, for one.:lol: Curiosity about how they do it and curiosity as to why it is happening now. Is there a connection between this phenomenon and the shrinking of the traditional publishing industry? This is seen largely among writers who e-publish and do it themselves. I think this is the future, and I’m thrilled by it as a reader and a writer.

    Thanks for bringing up this subject–and best wishes to you as you work to increase your output.:)TX

    • djmills on

      Yes, there is a connection between ebooks and readers. Readers are paying to read many stories that the gatekeepers rejected. Why? Because the gatekeepers got it wrong or the finance dept got it wrong. Readers have the choice to purchase ebooks, whether short, novella, novel length, and writers receive the highest royalty they have ever seen. So, writers need to get more stories on the net, and I need to learn to write short stories. πŸ™‚

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