Creator, Critic; Process, Product: In Defense of Writing Quickly

Recently, Ian Shine from contacted me asking for an interview. I’m not going to post the whole interview here because Ian hasn’t yet posted it on the site so if you’d like to read the whole thing you’ll either have to wait or else subscribe to the newsletter where I posted it in full. I welcome your comments.

What is the point in churning out 50,000 words without any kind of editing process?
Your Write or Die tool, like NaNoWriMo, promotes writing without procrastination. Do you think this really has any merit? All of the world’s greatest novels took years to write, so what’s the point in trying to churn out writing as fast as possible, just for writing’s sake?
If you had the apparatus to look inside the head of any creative person you would find twin beasts; we will call these the Creator and the Critic. In the well-organized mind they grow together: the more one creates the sharper one’s eye becomes to the details in the creation of others, the more one looks critically at the works of others the more one is driven to create something better. The problem occurs when the Creator sits down to create; the Critic cannot differentiate between the process and the product and therefore begins to make loud comments about how horrible this creation is and how it could be so much better.
The goal of Write or Die is to get the Critic to shut up during the process and wait for the product. A lot of people criticise NaNoWriMo, saying that it’s about nothing more than churning out reams of bilge. These people have the same problem as the Critic, they do not see that NaNoWriMo (and Write or Die) is about the process, not the product.
So, these things must be separate: Creator and Critic, Process and Product.
It’s true that most novels take years to go from inception to publication, it is foolish to argue that point. I simply posit that the answer for the writers toiling in obscurity is to first take away the toil and then tackle the obscurity. Writing Does Not Have To Be Hard. The creature inside you that makes it hard is not the Creator, it is the Critic, holding you back and telling you it’s not good enough. Make the Critic wait for the product when it can be used for things like editing, and by the time you’re ready to edit it will have plenty of things to say.

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