Surely you know one or more prolific writers who produce so much material that you wish you could bottle their energy and drink it down later for yourself.
Perhaps you even feel a little envious or resentful of their output: Hey, that could be me if only I didn’t have to [fill in the blank].
It’s easy to believe that a large quantity of writing is a sign of productivity, and thus, if you are not writing reams yourself, you aren’t being productive. But more writing does not necessarily equal better-quality writing, nor does faster writing lead to faster achievement of your goals.
The Pros and Cons of Fast Drafting
For at least six years, I, like millions of other slightly crazed, well-intentioned writers, have participated in NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month—in which writers attempt to produce a 50,000-word novel in thirty days while running on caffeine, blind faith, and a spirit of adventure. The part of me that is like an endurance athlete always thinks this sounds like a great idea and enjoys the endorphin rush of writing toward a fast finish. And it is fun at various stages—particularly at the beginning before reality has set in. But you know what the honest truth is? It kills me every year. By the end of November I am the crankiest, most burned-out, and spent writer I know.