Why Writers Need to Pursue Quality Over Quantity
It’s not about how much you write, but about what you are writing.
To be an exquisite writer, you should write every day.
Don’t overthink the process of writing. Don’t take days off. Don’t make excuses.
Just write every day.
The most accomplished writers give this advice. Stephen King says it. Ernest Hemingway said we need to bleed when we write. J.R.R. Tolkien said to write through adversity.
The message is clear; writing consistently every morning, afternoon, or evening will ignite your fiery words onto the world. Words inspired by your ideas and your experiences.
At last, your writing will awaken from the depths of idleness.
That’s what I hope for every time I write.
But the act of writing consistently doesn’t make us remarkably exquisite writers or even decent writers. It’s part of the process but it misses something.
To be an exquisite writer, you have to think clearly, you have to articulate your words as a teacher carefully considers how he will inspire his students.
“Words — so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become, in the hands of one who knows how to combine them!”
— Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Problem With Writing
You don’t need to publish every day.
The art of writing elegantly is in how much we spend crafting our work.
Some writers spend 1 hour a day seamlessly crafting elegant words after another, and other writers spend days trying to scrape some semblance of beautiful writing.
It’s not just the difference between an experienced and an inexperienced writer, it’s how much thought we put into our work.
The problem with a lot of inexperienced writers is that they don’t articulate well enough. Sometimes I don’t articulate well. And it’s because we aren’t thinking as fast as we’re typing and we’re too lazy to reread our work.
Either way, thoughtless words are created. This is how bad writing habits are created.
Blogs, online articles, and self-publishing are evidence of bad writing, of thoughtless writing. They reinforce thoughtless writing. The demand to rank on Google with pointless stories & redundant information creates bad writers and underdeveloped writers.
Since there’s a demand for instant information, you have to write more prolifically to stay relevant as a writer. If you aren’t writing daily, you feel the pressure to write daily or you’re a failure.
You feel like a failure if you can’t write as fast as society demands.
It feels as if the culture has swallowed eloquence for ineloquence, clarity for confusion, concision for fluff.
It’s time, however, to rediscover meaningful words, to spend more time in our thoughts and dreams, and remember what makes a beautifully articulated story.
How to Write Quality Stories
There is no magic behind eloquent writing.
Fairy dust isn’t needed as much as we might believe. Writing thousands of words each day won’t help either.
Dismiss any kind of magical thinking you have of what it takes to be an exquisite writer.
The only magic in writing well is writing one meaningful word after another.
Should you want to perfect storytelling, you must first study the art of storytelling. Study plots, characters, themes, conflict, and resolution.
Figure out why people read stories.
But don’t confuse something viral with masterful storytelling.
As a writer, your goal is not to create a viral story, not the next Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings. Even J.R.R Tolkien didn’t expect so much success.
In other words, don’t write for the sake of profit. And don’t write for the sake of others.
Write a story you believe needs to be told. Tell a story that sharpens your writing and your thinking because of how much you researched and studied writing and storytelling.
Study Hemmingway, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Orwell & Joyce. Don’t just study their writing, study what they did throughout their childhood and adult years that made their writing masterful.
Study their habits, their thoughts, and their culture.
Be a student of writing.
Be Whatever Writer You Want to Be
The demand for writing gives you an opportunity to write more, to get paid for your writing services.
Yet, don’t let it ever diminish what you write.
You should always feel the pressure to write, just don’t do it with haste.
The pressure to write should compel us to think more sharply and reread our work more intently.
Writing stories should demand more from us. And we should always be willing to surrender our time and thoughts to create a masterful story.