Advice from Nicholson Baker

It’s unnerving to recall that a writer’s published work represents only a tiny fraction of her output. Every good novelist has an abandoned book (or two or three) in the drawer. Every good poet could fill a book (or two or three) with poems not worth publishing.

So why can’t we just skip writing all that bad stuff? Is writing the bad stuff necessary for writing the good stuff? Maybe, maybe not. Nicholson Baker says the important thing is to keep writing–and to write every single day, if possible.

“If you write every day,” he says, “you’re going to write a lot of things that aren’t terribly good, but you’re going to have given things a chance to have their moments of sprouting.”