Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov published over 500 novels, short stories, books, and articles in his lifetime. He was truly a prolific writer. How did he achieve this level of output?
Recently a friend shared an article with me discussing Asimov’s secret weapon.
In it, Asimov is quoted from his book, It’s Been a Good Life, as saying this:
The ordinary writer is bound to be assailed by insecurities as he writes. Is the sentence he has just created a sensible one? Is it expressed as well as it might be? Would it sound better if it were written differently? The ordinary writer is always revising, always chopping, and changing, always trying on different ways of expressing himself, and, for all I know, never being entirely satisfied. That is certainly no way to be prolific.
The ordinary writer is held back by insecurity and doubt, and thus they write less. So, what does the prolific writer do?
A prolific writer, therefore, has to have self assurance. He can’t sit around doubting the quality of his writing. Rather, he has to love his own writing… If I didn’t enjoy my writing so much, how on earth could I stand all the writing I do?
Loving our own writing does not mean that we think everything that we write is perfect and amazing. A number of Asimov’s works were never published because they did not make the grade in his mind. However, the key is to love the process of creating our own writing.
Believe that you have a greatness within you and that you are doing no one any favors by hiding it away.
The irony is that the writer who cautiously waits for inspiration to strike in order to create the perfect piece will be a worse writer than the one who writes every day.
I recently shared that if you write 500 words per day, you will write 182,500 words per year. That’s a lot of words. When you do something a lot you tend to get better at it.
As we write more, we can experiment more with language and ideas. We discover more of what works and what doesn’t work.
There are two other reasons to write more and judge ourselves less. In the world of the Internet, content is king. The person who writes a high quantity of decent quality will have more influence and engagement than one who writes a lower quantity of superb quality work.
While this can lead to mediocrity, it doesn’t have to because of the second benefit of judging less and writing more. As we create more content and share more content, more people will engage with our content. They will provide feedback, new ideas, refinements on our thoughts. The article I quoted above was shared in a comment on a previous article on the idea of doing one small thing to get better every day.
By creating content every day, especially writing, we refine and develop our thinking and our ideas.
Judge less. Write more.
Share your ideas. Encourage feedback. Learn from yourself and learn from others.
For more on this topic, take a listen to this episode of Morning Motivation where I discuss the topic.