There is something else you need to know about how writing works. Quantity leads to quality. In fact, there is no other route to quality writing. Believe me. I’ve tried.
There is a myth among non-writers that we imagine a great idea and then, full to the brim, we sit down and spill it onto the page in a flurry of creative energy. This is indeed a myth. What actually happens is more like making a film.
I don’t remember the numbers and I’m not going to bother stepping over to my browser and Googling them, but I think that it is something like an hour of film is shot for every minute that appears in the movie. Writing a novel works the same way. Of course the numbers will vary, but suffice it to say that for every page in a novel, there are at least 10 pages in the scrap heap. There are pages and pages of outline, character sketches, plot summary, drafts upon drafts upon drafts of the story, editor’s notes, re-writes, and copy. None of which the reader will ever see. Again, quantity is the necessary cost of quality.
Why? Because as a writer you simply have no way of knowing if a plot turn, setting, or character development is going to work until you take it through a few drafts*. We discover how the story is going to work by writing it. The result of all of this prototyping is quantity.
So what is the take away? If you are trying to create a bit of writing, write as much as you can. The more you write the more you’ll understand what it is you are trying to create. Get after it. Know that a crazy amount of writing is what the process will demand of you.
There, now you know.
* See my posting from August 29, 2012, “The Thoughts We Have”