But I also can't deny that writerly friendships can be particularly fraught. When you're chasing the same brass ring, it's easy to feel like you're in direct competition with your peers. Sometimes, in concrete terms, this is true—like when two members of your writing group both have fulls out to the same agent, or when you and a writer-pal's books are released at different publishers targeting the same audience. Inevitable and quite naturally, jealousy can set in.
And in a writer's world where many online activities—from word sprints to NaNoWriMo—are focused on producing a lot of words, fast, in the hopes of getting us all to stick with the adage of "butt-in-chair"—it's easy to focus that jealousy on something as tangible as output. "Oh," many a writer has been heard to sadly lament, "I'm slow. It takes me months to finish drafts."
(I've written before about the insane expectations of commercial publishing—but I think it bears repeating that the idea that drafting one book for months is a low output is crazy. Crazy! As John Scalzi says, authors are not word machines.)
Output is an easy thing to focus on when you're feeling insecure—and it's an easy way to cut down others, too. It's simple to sneer at someone and say she writes her books too fast; I bet they're a mess or it's taken her years to finish one draft; she'll never publish! And if we feel like rolling in the self-hatred, it's easy to let these thoughts blossom out of control: I write too slowly. I'll never be able to make my deadlines. My readers will all abandon me. Or I'll die before I see book 3 finished. Those other writers who churn out words faster are more professional than I am and so on, and so forth.
The problem with this is that every writer is different—every single one of us has a unique process that wouldn't—no, couldn't—work for any other writer. That's not to say that you should disregard all writing advice wholesale, but you'll know instinctively what advice is good, solid, and applicable to your process and your situation. Forcing yourself into other molds, even molds that are highly successful for other writers, is just an exercise in lunacy. And comparing your process to the process of others—either to disparage theirs, or cut your own down—is likewise madness.
Personally, my process goes something like this: I draft for anywhere between one month and nine (what?! You mean my process isn't identical for each book? Of course not! Different novel, different needs) without an outline but with the whole shebang more-or-less worked out in my head. Then I send to betas, revise, send to more betas, revise again. Sometimes I won't even figure out major plot points until a final revision, but that's okay—my process works for me.
What works for you?