This may shock you, make you gasp, shake your head in worry I’ve lost my mind or think maybe I’m lying to you. But it’s absolutely true: I write two books a month. Have managed three in that same time frame. Because I write mainly young adult paranormal, I’ve been accused of using access to the occult to make it possible. So why isn’t this post titled How to Sell Your Creative Soul to a Demon in Three Easy Steps?
Makes me giggle, really. Because, in a way, I have sold my creative soul. But not to demons or darkness. To the voices in my head. And I’m loving every minute of it.
When Angela invited me to write this post, I was excited to do so. The publishing world is changing so rapidly, so many paradigms shifting, it thrills me almost every day to see how many writers are crushing convention. Accepting their talent and gifts are theirs, to use as they best see fit, not under the rules and regulations imposed by traditional publishing—and the traditional thinking that came from publishing.
One of those myths is quality vs. quantity. I was told over and over as a young writer there was no way I could write quickly and write well at the same time. That speed only meant my work was terrible, trash, needed extensive rewrites to improve it. Time was the only measure of talent.
It broke my heart—and almost broke me. Because I’m a speedwriter. Have been one ever since I decided this was what I wanted at twelve years of age. And hearing my work had to suck because I was fast added to the pressure and anxiety of being a new writer.
It wasn’t until I entered the world of journalism, escaping university and the confines of English literature, I learned the premise of quality vs. quantity wasn’t exactly true. Finally, I’d found a venue where writing fast and well went hand in hand. I didn’t have time to ponder the placement of each and every word, to disassemble and recreate what I’d written. I learned if I couldn’t write fast and well, I couldn’t do the job.
Fast forward about a decade as I stumbled across screenwriting. And you know what? Same message. Writing for television, especially, requires so much speed, the pressure is amazing. And being able to revise on the fly, to come up with brand new material in an eyeblink is the norm, not the exception.
So when I finally returned to writing novels, I threw my old beliefs out the window. Dove in as though I’d never heard anyone tell me I couldn’t, shouldn’t, wasn’t good enough because I was fast. Wrote my most popular novel, Family Magic, in two weeks. And haven’t looked back.
Do I sacrifice quality for quantity? Never. But nor do I allow my fear of my speed to keep me from the joy of opening my mind to the voices and letting it all out. Which usually means writing a book in about six or seven days.
No pact with the devil. No signing on the dotted line in blood. Just trust, training and faith in my talent and the characters who demand I tell their stories.
About the Author: Patti Larsen is an award-winning middle grade, young adult and new adult author with a passion for the paranormal. Now with multiple series in happy publication, she lives on Prince Edward Island, Canada, home to Anne of Green Gables and the most beautiful red beaches in the world, with her very patient husband and five massive cats.
You can find her:
And her books:
And her method for writing so fast:
So what do you think? Quality vs. Quantity? Can you have both at the same time? As far as Patti is concerned, I think you can. Want to learn more about her process, then click the links above, but I may also bug her some more to learn the nitty-gritty of her writing process. Stay tuned.