It seems like a lot and a little at the same time. I know people who can pump out eight to ten books a year and others who’ll write one in a lifetime. The number is meaningless really, except as a moment of reflection. Not that the weather would concur, but it is winter, a time to assess.
Every book has been its own journey, each one happening in a different way. Some have been planned out to near staleness, others have spilled from my fingers in a gush where I was barely present. With each one my skill has improved. With each one I have pushed myself to new boundaries of ideas and form.
Twenty books isn’t bad for as long as I’ve been writing. I’m happy with it. Knowing my process it’s a solid outcome. About three books a year, more at the beginning of my career, fewer later on when repeating myself is a real threat.
My super power in this endeavor is simple. I finish what I start. It is a basic rule and one that has never failed me. I know a lot of writers who have a stack of unfinished manuscripts. I know a lot of authors who have a stack of finished ones. The difference is everything.
I have other rules of writing too, but none have been as demonstrably useful as finish what I start. It’s got me twenty books.
There’s an element of stubbornness here to be sure. When the moment comes in each book, and it always comes, when I hate what I’m writing and the devil on my shoulder has a great suggestion for another better, story, I no longer even pretend that he could be right. I don’t listen at all except maybe to take a quick note, add it to the list of story ideas, and then bullheadedly press on.
I’ll get there one day, if I live long enough. I’ll open those doors with my finished books, the twenty I have and the more that will come.
That’s the plan anyway.
I’m seven years into my ten year plan to be an overnight success.