Day: September 20, 2017


I have a confession to make: I don’t watch Game of Thrones.

I did watch season 1, and maybe even parts of season 2, but at some point I lost interest. It moves too slowly for my taste. I can keep up just fine by looking over DH’s shoulder to see what the characters have been up to once every few months.

Which brings me to the topic of today’s post…

DH is complaining that G. R. Martin still hasn’t released the much-awaited final book of the Songs of Ice and Fire sextalogy (?),  the book series that sprouted the show. We got to talking about how Martin is the opposite of a prolific writer (a blocked writer?), how each book takes him many years to produce, and while they are good (so says DH, I don’t like fantasy and haven’t read the books), there are books of comparable quality written by far more fecund authors.

One of Eldest’s favorite authors, Brandon Sanderson, came up. Eldest adores his books, and DH concurs that they are very good (you have to be into the genre). Sanderson is a machine; he produces one or more books per year, you can follow his publication plans and completion of his various projects on his website. Stephen King is of similar cloth — a book every few months.

I admire prolific artists. Not everything has to be a masterpiece, but famous prolific writers have certainly produced more than one strong, memorable piece.

Even if not everything they make is gold, the abundance of their output means their creative tank is large and never dries up. These people also seem to be generous toward those who attempt to write fan fiction — they don’t have to be stingy with their worlds or their characters, because there’s always new and more and better inside them. (Someone like Martin does not seem to have a large creative tank, and I have come across several interviews with him where he says that fan fiction writers are stealing from him, and he actually goes after them).

In the world of music, Bob Dylan comes to mind — he may not be your cup of tea, and not all he made was great, but he has recorded dozens of studio albums. That’s copious creative juice, and that’s what I admire.

I admire the same qualities in scientists. Those with a robust publication output (talking about senior ones here), always changing, growing, also seem to be the ones who every so often publish a highly influential paper, because influential papers require lots of creative power.

I know someone will come to say quantity doesn’t equal quality, and of course that’s true, but “quantity breeds quality” is not entirely false either. The more people produce, the better the average quality of the output is, and the best stuff also gets better.

If you have a creative job or hobby that you enjoy, just do it; create. Not every nugget will be great, but some will be, and to get good enough to make the great ones, some early (or late) turd nuggets are par for the course.