There are many activities that writers are expected to do in this day and age, besides write. For most, that includes writing around the hours of a full-time job, family, school, and a social life. There are myriad blog posts, podcasts, webinars, and videos explaining all manner of ways of working around and through stuff that competes for our writing time. But if we’re claiming ourselves as writers, then write we must.
Whether our goal is to be known as a published author or find our place in the blogosphere, two adjectives that must describe our production are consistent and prolific. Many authors, whether fiction or nonfiction, write and publish several books before being “discovered”. If that happens, then they have a beloved backlist from which their readers can spend time catching up on while the author continues along the consistent and prolific road.
Consistency begins with the decision that writing, or any creative act, will be the center of our lives. Heather Sellers equates inviting the Muse into our lives as if we’re inviting a lover. We must create time, spend time, devote time to be with our art. All authors have said that in order to be a writer, one must write thousands of words, spend thousands of hours creating. How else are we to find our voice? What else would we do to discover what rituals or places or mediums work for us? In what other way could we perfect the craft in order to express the stories or information inside us? We create consistently, every day, whether it’s pages or numbers of words, a manuscript or a poem or a blog post. We might begin by scheduling time, even ten minutes, and then, if the desire is there, if the ease comes, then we create because it’s what we do, maybe what we have to do. The consistency shifts from practice to production.
Being prolific might be considered a by-product of consistency. If we do the time in the studio, the kitchen, behind the lens, with our butt in the chair on a regular basis then we’ll be producing art. Maybe the distinction is how much of what we create we share with the world. Some of us fill many notebooks or word documents, but we don’t publish or share what we’ve done. So, we can hone our craft, but cheat others out of knowing what we feel and how we perceive the world.
Those that are prolific, from the view of making (or wanting to make) a living from their art, consistently put their work before others. In the past, the school of marketing said that a person has to see a brand seven times before they act. In this age of information where saturation occurs in nearly all industries, I think that it must be twice or three times that amount that our author names and books must appear before a reader clicks the “buy” button, or leaves a comment.
How do we become consistent? By doing art regularly because we’ve decided it’s important enough that we make the time, we find the way, to dance with the Muse. How do we become prolific? By sharing the art we consistently create with the world. There have been times that I’ve been consistent, and times that I haven’t. Each time I begin again, it’s not like starting completely from scratch, but it takes more effort than if I could keep showing up on a regular basis. Because of my consistency, or lack thereof, the publication dates between my books varies from several months to a few years. That marketing idea about getting known, about making a living from our art? Each time our consistency slips, or we slow down in being prolific, we slide away from the periphery of our fans, and our “being known” fades.
To see what my practice in being consistent and prolific has produced, visit my website: www.myjoyenterprises.com
Are you consistent in your art? How prolific are you? If you changed your consistency, what else would that effect?