Fri Oct 15, 2010

Anthony Burgess, I believe, said that any writer worth his salt should be able to produce a thousand words per day. I’ve been trying that for the last eighty days or so. (I missed the day I had spinal surgery because I couldn’t type with the IV and some other device they had sticking in my finger, and I never did make up those words.)

I don’t know if creative writing would be more difficult to follow through with than academic writing, but the main problem I’ve found is being able to find enough time to do both the writing and then the reading necessary to keep the motor going. With the resumption of the semester, it’s been particularly difficult some days.

And the other major problem is quality control. Despite trying not to write for the word count by filling up sentences with passive constructions and borderline gibberish, it’s hard to avoid when writing under that type of pressure. When I start editing this manuscript, I may decide that it was more trouble than it was worth. Or perhaps I should have tried to find time to do same-day editing.

I wonder how long Burgess kept it up. He was prolific. I toyed around with the notion of looking through some of his archives in the Ransom center the last time I was there but didn’t have time. He may not have kept an active correspondence if he budgeted so much time for his own writing, or he may have been a general purpose graphomaniac.