I heard a great analogy at a writers conference last year that I found interesting.
There are two ways to make popcorn. The first is to get out a pan, drip in a tiny bit of oil, set a kernel of popcorn in, and heat it until it pops. Then, spread butter and a pinch of salt over the popped kernel, and set it in a bowl. Repeat the process until you have all the popcorn you want.
The other way is to get out a pan, pour in the oil, and add a large scoop of kernels. Then heat it until most of them are popped. Then spread butter and salt over the whole thing,
The second way may not be as specific and precise, but the result is fantastic. Sure, there are kernels at the bottom that don’t get popped, but that’s okay, because the kernels that do pop supply you with all the popcorn you’ll need.
So what’s this got to do with writing? Some authors take the approach of writing a book, perfecting it, polishing it, shopping it around, editing it, and working on it until it finally gets its big break. Then they start another book. This works well to get a good, solid, successful book published.
The other approach is to write and write and write, revising, submitting, and constantly trying knew ideas. This person will write scads of books, most will get edited, many will get shopped around, and several will be published. And usually, this is the person who ends up having 20 books published in his/her career.
Both work, though the second is often more likely to have faster results and lend to a more thorough career, with more variety.
What about you? What’s your approach?