The comments continue to flow from my post on speedy writing. Many of them here and here. Though my musing out loud seems to have boiled down to books written fast can be good too! Maybe I shouldn’t have called it “speedy writing”.
The main points I thought I was making is that the pace of a writer’s production are influenced by many many different factors. A writer who will appear to be fast when independently wealthy and waited on hand in foot, would be slow if they had considerably less money and a family to look after. The opposite can be true. I have seen writers who wrote in the margins of their life, finding themselves suddenly able to write full-time, freak out and enter the biggest writer’s block of all time.
Sometimes a book that took five years to write had as much writing time spent on it as a book that took six months.
Do I think that book are necessarily good or bad because they were written fast or slow? No.
Do I think that the odds of the book being the best you can make it go up if you get to spend as long as you need on it? Yes.
Do I think some writers spend way too much time making their books the best they can? Yes.
Despite writers’ blogs—and most writers don’t have one—the amount of time a book takes to be written is mostly hidden from the majority of its audience. So judging a book on its perceived speed of production, rather than its actual quality, seems fairly pointless to me.
I’m always reminded of a paper I once heard on Jonathan Lethem’s early novels that assumed that they were written in the order they were published and at the speed they were published, both erroneous assumptions.
I can state one thing with certainty: My favourite writers don’t write books fast enough. Slow lazy bastards. And the writers I can’t stand are way too productive. Sloppy hacks.