Being prolific doesn’t mean doing everything fast.
In fact, when it comes to the principal act of writing, that
is, physically putting words on a blank page, I actually work quite slowly. Which
seems unlikely, considering I’ve published two books per year, every year, for
the last decade.
But you have to understand, writing is only one step of the creative process.
Before showing up at the page, there’s a mountain of journaling and researching and ritualizing
and gathering inspiration and taking notes and organizing material to be done. And
after showing up at the page, there’s a second mountain of editing and
formatting and architecting and managing and publishing and marketing to be
Now, those activities, I do execute
quickly. Because they’re peripheral steps in the creative process, where it’s
more about speed and less about skill. Where velocity doesn’t degrade value.
Photographers know all about this distinction.
According to the landmark study by the International Society
of Professional Wedding Photographers, after editing, designing, bookkeeping,
going to meetings, communicating with clients, marketing, networking, equipment
setup, technical maintenance and working in photo labs, only about twelve
percent of the photographer’s time is actually spent taking pictures.
No wonder they take their time.
Shooting is their principal work unit.
And that’s something that should never be rushed.
But as for everything else in the creative process, if you
want to achieve artistic prolificacy, put the pedal to the medal.