I've just taken a month off writing and am now blinking at my list of projects as I decide which one to start on next. Wisdom dictates I ease back in with the one I know will be easiest or more fun to write, but they're all stories I've been planning for a while and am itching to write. What happens when you take personal time, however, is that your writing muscle seems to atrophy. Much like exercising, you have to go through the aches and pains, the stops and starts, all over again. The flow seems to dry up.
It seems when you sign up to the writing gig you're taking on a lifestyle. Writing is a way of life. It seems that those who write religiously every day are those that seem to be more prolific, whereas those who take breaks seem to find it harder to climb back on the writing horse again. The procrastination bug seems to bite them hard, the blank page seems impossible to fill, and disaster and despair looms as the resulting fear blocks any creativity.
I've always been fascinated by prolific writers who can write up to 9 or 10 full novels a year with relative ease. I've pored over their working methods, thinking to emulate them if I just found out their 'secret'. It seems to be bum in seat however for x number of hours a day. Nothing mysterious about that, just an iron will that enforces a strict discipline. Came rain or shine, they're tapping away at their keyboard. Ideas seem never-ending to these writers, the words seem to flow, characters appear and interact, the story ends - and on to the next book.
Apart from the discipline, a great number of them seem to write with their internal completely switched off. The first draft is written fast and furiously, just getting it all down. Editing is reserved for the second and future drafts. I've noted a number of modern prolific authors who do this: Nora Roberts/JD Robb and Lyn Viehl (who explains this method in her ebook The Way of the Cheetah), and other-era writers such as Barbara Cartland, Enid Blyton, Georges Simenon and John Creasey - who all vie for the title of the most prolific author ever with up to 600 titles on their resumes.
I think you need to be a little bit driven to reach these dizzy heights in production, however. While I long to be amongst their number for sheer volume I haven't the discipline or, I suspect, the Type A personality necessary to achieve it. I'm fascinated by what motivates them, however. I can't imagine it's just the money. Most of them were wealthy well before their deaths, and their output barely suffered afterwards. So what do you think would motivate someone to achieve this kind of production?