Is Being a Prolific Author Painful?

Writer’s Block is a wonderful catch-all excuse for all manner of authorial sin.  I often struggle with it when deciding what to write for my column.  When writing a piece on current events or politics it needs to be relevant and interesting, not just a column written because I needed something to fill the space that week (a pet peeve of mine when perusing the major news sites).

But with the idea of struggling with writer’s block in mind, I’ve often wondered how the prolific authors feel.

“Terry Pratchett is one of the most popular authors writing today.  He lives behind a keyboard in Wiltshire and says he ‘doesn’t want to get a life, because it feels as though he’s trying to live three already’.”

~ excerpt from the bio in Terry Pratchett’s works published by Corgi Books

Terry Pratchett, for example, my favourite current author…  Now, I’m sure he gets writer’s block occasionally (I don’t think it’s something that any author can opt-out of), but for how prolific a writer he is it makes me wonder: is being so prolific painful?

I often find myself wishing I had more ideas, but when I think about all those stories being stuck in your head, scrambling to get out all at once, stepping on each other’s toes…it’s kind of mind-boggling.  I can honestly say that at times I’ve been frustrated with wanting to say so much, and as a result just not being able to say anything at all.

So for the author – whose livelihood depends on it – is it actually a painful experience to have so many ideas clambering about?  Or is it just the price tag for having been gifted with a vast imagination?

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One thought on “Is Being a Prolific Author Painful?

  1. As a writer with a lot of ideas and not a lot of time, sometimes I feel like one of the baddies in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novels: this fellow who trapped a muse, but was then cursed with so many ideas that he went mad, never able to get them all out. It’s not quite as bad as that, but there’s still a certain amount of stress attached to having these beautiful designs in your head but knowing you’ll never manage to write them all.

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