Firstly, apologies to anyone who came looking for a blog post from me in August. I took a month off blogging here, and went to the RWA conference in New York.
Which actually rather neatly leads me into this article. Because one of the workshops I really wanted to attend was intriguingly called "Writing a novel in 30 days - tips tricks and cautions." In 30 days? I'd be thrilled if I could produce a book in less than 6 months. Lots of other writers seem to be able to do it. So why can't I?
One of the ladies giving the workshop opened by saying the fastest she had ever written a novel was 7 days. When challenged as to its length, she told us it was 95,000 words. There were gasps all round. The second lady on the panel claimed 75,000 words in 3 weeks, and the third 60,000 in 6 weeks. And they were all from start to submission. They weren't talking about first drafts!
However, one thing they all agreed on was that they do good first drafts, which don't need much re-writing. They didn't do a lot of plotting either, as they considered it a waste of time. In short, they all just sat down and wrote.
By this time I was feeling very inadequate. My first drafts are generally a total mess and need going over several times before I feel confident about sending them off to my editor. I can sit down and write a story in 4/5 weeks, but it isn't fit for human consumption! My revisions take ages and ages. And ages.
I was starting to wonder if I'm being too pernickety. Perhaps I should just bash out a draft and send it off...
But no. I can't do it. I can't let anyone see my work until I'm sure it's of a certain standard. And my first drafts definitely aren't.
However, as the workshop progressed, and people started asking how exactly these three women managed to write so fast, and still have a life, it became apparent that actually, they didn't. Have much of a life outside writing, when they were going at that pace, that is. One started writing from 8am until 5 pm when she became an empty-nester. One had a husband who worked in a high profile job which meant he wasn't home until 11 pm. And all three admitted that their health suffered. And that they have had to cut back a lot.
Their conclusion was that you have to write the best book you can and don't beat yourself up if it isn't done quickly. In other words, go for Quality, not Quantity. I'd been getting worked up over all the advice I keep reading lately, that I need to bring out books really frequently to keep readers coming back. But they're not going to come back if my book isn't any good, are they, no matter how quickly I manage to get it out there?
I came away from that workshop with the feeling that it isn't just quality of writing that's important, either, but quality of life.
If I lived alone, and needed to fill up my hours with something, then maybe I too could write from 8 in the morning until 11 at night, and produce 4 books a year I could be proud of instead of 2.
I want quality of life, as well as feeling I've written books I can be proud of.
So it looks as though I'm doomed to only ever turning out 2 books a year - 2 books I can get excited about, that is.
So bang goes my chances of making a ton of money!
This year Annie has produced just 2 books. A mistress for Major Bartlett, which is available on Amazon,
...and The Captains' Christmas bride which is out in December, but can be pre-ordered here:
She is hoping to produce 2 more books in 2016.