I am constantly fretting about the amount of writing, or drawing, or music time I have. Yes, I know that quality trumps quantity, but when you look out there at those artists churning out work, it can be intimidating.
I’ve been at the writing game the longest and every time I turn around, I read about writer’s producing 1000 to 2000 words a day. The amount is staggering. Especially for me, a bloke who has to work a day job to pay the mortgage. It makes me wonder, are there other ways to monitor creative progress?
In terms of writing, I often revise as much as I create. Yet this means that my word count remains at zero. I turned to a few fellow writers for help on the matter.
Anthony Trollope (I had to look him up) wrote the Barsetshire Novels (mid 19th century). I took solace in the fact that he devoted part of his schedule to revising. In fact, he did the same thing as me, rereading a portion of the manuscript to get back in the flow of the work.
And then there’s Gustave Flaubert, who wrote Madame Bovary (which I’ve heard of, but never read). He will be an icon to all slow writers. He wrote word by word, contemplating each choice. His output was only two pages of material a week!
I am speedy in comparison.
So a compromise I made with my wanting-to-be-productive mind was this: I write for a set time each day (nearly every day). Sometimes I have a huge word count. But often, I’m embellishing what I’ve already created.
How can you apply this to what you create? Does the time you play around with scales or rhythms count towards creating music? Maybe those doodles you pen in your spare time are simply your subconscious working out a grand design.
Don’t discount the remedial work. Any creative process is worth your effort.