Is Productivity a Writer’s True Currency?

Question: Is productivity the true currency of a writer? 

Walter Mosley: You know, it’s funny.  One wouldn’t want to say that what makes a good writer is the number of books that the writer wrote because you could write a whole number of bad books.  Books that don’t work, mediocre books, or you know, there’s a whole bunch of people in the pulp tradition who have done that.  They just wrote... and actually they didn’t write a whole bunch of books, they just wrote one book many times.  

But even if she wrote a different book every time, if they’re not good books, then you can’t say this is a good writer because he or she wrote a whole lot of books.  On the other hand, when you go to another form, like for instance painting, you talk about painters and you talk about painters painting masterpieces.  There is no painter who painted only one painting and that was a masterpiece.  You have to do a whole bunch of paintings to get to the place of mastering your craft.  And so the idea of being productive, the idea of producing many books is going to lead you toward becoming a better and... can lead towards you becoming a better and better writer.  

So, no, purely the idea of writing a lot of books doesn’t make you a great writer, but it might be that the process of doing a lot of writing will make you a much better writer.

Recorded November 10, 2010
Interviewed by Andrew Dermont

Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler

"There is no painter who painted only one painting and that was a masterpiece," says Mosley. But that doesn’t mean you can write a lot of bad books and still be a good writer.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Wealth inequality is literally killing us. The economy should work for everyone.

This economy has us in survival mode, stressing out our bodies and minds.

  • Economic hardship is linked to physical and psychological illness, resulting in added healthcare expenses people can't afford.
  • The gig economy – think Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit, Handy – is marketed as a 'be your own boss' revolution, but it can be dehumanizing and dangerous; every worker is disposable.
  • The cooperative business model can help reverse wealth inequality.
Keep reading Show less

The most culturally chauvinist people in Europe? Greeks, new research suggests

Meanwhile, Spaniards are the least likely to say their culture is superior to others.

Image: Pew Research Center
Strange Maps
  • Survey by Pew Research Center shows great variation in chauvinism across Europe.
  • Eight most chauvinist countries are in the east, and include Russia.
  • British much more likely than French (and slightly more likely than Germans) to say their culture is "superior" to others.
Keep reading Show less

People who engage in fat-shaming tend to score high in this personality trait

A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.

Mind & Brain
  • The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
  • The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
  • People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
Keep reading Show less