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When Does Writing Quantity Produce Quality ?

A friend called story writing the easiest thing in the world– select a few good writing topics, he said. Add a few good writing ideas, and you can write a book.

Though what he said pissed me off a little, because anyone who has written a few stories would tell you it isn’t that easy.

But then I thought, wait. Maybe he is right.

After all, writers write. The more they write, the better they’ll write.

Only thing it has to be deliberate practice, like I said in my earlier post on 10, 000 hours of writing:

Continuous and consistent efforts at improvement, trying to learn something new each day, new skills, setting new goals —that is what deliberate practice is all about.

So here’s to continued writing, deliberately improving with writing exercises, with continued writing lessons, and critique from writing groups. It may be the easiest and stupidest thing to do in other people’s eyes — but as I, and any other writer who’s written for a while knows, it is totally worth it.

So it is back to honing writing skills, to free writing in order to loosen those writing muscles, and in the end, to writing a book.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • -laughs- I'm guessing your friend isn't a writer.

  • Damyanti says:

    The vote seems unanimous: writing more does lead to better writing, and writing stories is not easy 🙂

    Thanks to each of you for your comments. I'll be popping by to your blogs in a while.

  • Mina Lobo says:

    ^What she said.

    And yeah – you gotta keep at it to get any good at it. Or, like a former college prof once famously said, you mess with something long enough and one day it's gonna rise up and bite you on the butt. (Only, he totally didn't say butt.) (And, you know, assuming snake bite's a good thing…)
    Some Dark Romantic

  • Writing only seems easy to those who've never tried to be good at it.

  • Li says:

    Quantity is indeed good practice but quality – well, that takes a lot of time and effort. I've read many a story (applies to movies as well) that had a great idea but the execution was sloppy or careless. I also run into a lot of people who have no idea how much time writing can take; a short story of 1000 – 3000 words can take me 8-20 hours from start to finish, including editing and proofreading.

  • I haven't done free writing for ages because I've been so busy concentrating on 'The Book'. Perhaps it's time to let my creativity run free again. 🙂

  • sue says:

    To say that something is 'the easiest thing in the world' when it requires dedicated, consistent work is contradictory isn't it!

    There's the commitment to make time to start, to find a topic, characters, setting, find the right words, fine tune, edit and re-edit. Alex uses the word "work" and I think that's appropriate. and just because it's pleasurable work, doesn't make it easy.

    Cheers to all writers who spend time working at their craft, because you bring pleasure to the non-writers in the world.

  • michelle says:

    I haven't been writing for very long but I can see the improvement. When I read my earlliest attempts at flash fic, they sound clumsy and boring.

  • I can see improvement in my writing over the years. As I work on my third book, the difference between it and the first one almost surprises me.