Monday, January 02, 2006

First Writing Day of the New Year

It wasn’t.  Didn’t sit in front of the blank screen as I said I would.  But I’m thinking.  Reading bits of things here and there and hoping something will catch my fancy.

I just read on James Reasoner's Blog that he’s written 185 books.  I’m astonished.  We all have different rhythms and no two people write in the same way.  But I’m in awe of this man as I sit here trying to think of an idea for the 20th book in my career.  I think he was born in 1953, which makes him 53.  Much younger than I.  I don’t know when he started writing but let’s say he was 18.  So that’s how many books a year? Oh, you figure it out it’s too much for me.

Then there’s Bob Randisi who has written over 300 books.  And Larry Block and Ed McBain and Georges Simenon and Ed Gorman who have all written many, many books.  I don’t see myself listing any women.  I can’t think of any who’ve written lots and lots of books.  Maybe I’m not remembering.  Oh, yes.  Ruth Rendell has written quite a lot but I don’t think she’s up there in the 100’s.

At any rate, I’m simply not that kind of writer.  I don’t mean anything pejorative by that.   I just can’t write that much.  Or that fast.  As I said on Reasoner’s blog, I don’t believe that speed has anything to do with quality anymore than lack of speed has anything to do with "literature."

But I do wish I could’ve written more in my life.  I didn’t and I’m not going to.  That’s not who I am.  I remember when I first started writing novels my goal was to write 20 in my career.  And here I am on the threshold of 20 with a totally empty brain.

That has to change.  Doesn’t it?



Sarah said...

I don't know when he actually wrote the book but Reasoner's first published novel was TEXAS WIND, back in 1980. So presumably, those 185 books have been written in about 25 years, though probably more like 30.

As for prolific female writers...well there's Nora Roberts, who must be closing in on book 200 by now.

Dr. Lisa said...

Yes, I was going to suggest Nora Roberts as well. They are listed here . There are way too many to count.

Today was supposed to be my first day writing day, too, after the holidays. I crashed, burned, gave up, and watched the cheezeball "Wildfire" marathon television.

Gormania said...

There's a story, probably apocryphal, that in the late Fifties the prolific Evan Hunter fell under the personal influence of the very unprolific Stanley Ellin. Wanting to improve his writing, Hunter told Stanley that he was going to slow down for sure. The two men ran into each other after a few weeks and Evan said, "I've slowed down, Stanley! I only did 15 pages yeesterday!"

Gena said...

This reminds me of something an old co-worker once told me. She said she used to tell clients they could have the work done well or done fast--never both.

That's not to say those who write fast don't write well. But I think most of us need to take time to put out a quality piece of work. It's nothing to feel bad about. Just the way it is. If you can say you wrote 20 quality books--and I've read most of them, so I can say you did--then there's no need to feel bad. That's a wonderful accomplishment.

Look at someone like Wally Lamb. He's only written 2 books in his life. But damn those were good books.