I have described myself as prolific, and after looking at my early track record no one could disagree. I waited many years before taking up the pen to write. But once I started I took off by most standards, writing four novels in two years. Without hesitation, it is impossible to be a prolific writer if you are always getting
No one but a writer is permitted the luxury of throwing up their hands and saying they can’t work for days, if not months! No doctor, lawyer, accountant or anyone else considers any type of block legitimate but writers. Imagine going to a doctor for a mysterious ailment and being told, “Come back in a couple of months. I have
Here are some of my tricks to achieve prolific writer status.
You Need Plots
It helped that I collected story plots for years before I began to write, but not having saved plots is no excuse. Once I committed to writing I set my mind to develop original thoughts. Good and bad ideas all went down on a list. Being intentional with these ideas starts the wheels turning.
Research Fuels the Idea Engine
The best time for research is before you write. My research goes into an auxiliary Word file that I create for each project. The things that I learn not only fuel the evolution of the story but helps establish the breadth of the story itself. Research has to be part of the joy of writing. It is an opportunity to expand one’s tent, so to speak.
It also has the potential to cut into your actual writing time. To become a truly prolific writer, you’ll need to set time for both research and writing. Both matter, but be sure to do them in equal measure.
Make Use of Pericopes
The word pericope comes to us from Greek through Late Latin and means “piece cut out.” Stated more succinctly, pericope is defined as extracts from a text that form a complete account or story. Pericopes come in different lengths and levels of detail.
I apply the concept of pericopes to build out sections of a story, so at any time I am building story blocks that fit nicely within one unified plot. Once included, these sections require the same finishing touches that the overall novel needs. Pericope blocks work nicely to include visualization of settings.
Pericopes also work well to add layers to characters that explain actions and motivations. To me, a flashback is just another pericope. By writing pericopes, simple stories can become delightfully complicated without becoming unorganized.
Guiding Question to Keep a Story Moving
Let me leave you with a small sampling of the guiding questions that I use to begin my writing day.
- Where is the story going and where do I want it to go?
- Where would most people expect this story to go?
- What is a good place for a pivot in the plot and should the transition be gradual or dramatic?
- Are the likable characters sympathetic and are the unlikeable characters truly detestable?
- Is it time for a character to undergo redemption?
- Does the story make sense?
And always remember, half of the enjoyment of a good story is to take the reader someplace that they did not expect. Becoming a prolific writer means more than just writing a lot—it means having a lot of stories to tell.