There’s a school of advice that claims good writing is the result of endless, painstaking, comprehensive rewrites that iterate toward perfection, but I’ve learned much more about craft writing and publishing nine novels than I ever would have rewriting my first novel nine times.
Quality versus quantity is a false dichotomy. Quantity is a route to quality. Not the route. There is no the route when it comes to making good art or software or podcasts or sourdough. There is probably someone out there who would learn more from rewriting their first novel nine times than writing and publishing nine novels.
But there are few routes as simple, difficult, and effective as doing work you believe in for people you care about, gleaning what you can from the process, and then rolling up your sleeves and starting all over again.
Complement with Italo Calvino on what makes great writing great, five lessons I learned writing Cumulus, and my advice for authors.
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Eliot Peper is the author of nine novels, including Cumulus, Bandwidth, and, most recently, Veil. He sends a monthly newsletter documenting his journey as a reader and writer, tweets more than he probably should, and lives in Oakland, CA.