where the writers are
Writing for expediency (also known as writing fast)

Jonathan Karp, formerly of Random House and now with the new house called Twelve Publishers, wrote an article for the Sunday Washington Post on the state of publishing. According to Publishers Lunch: 

He remarks on "the relentless, indiscriminate proliferation" of commercial "ephemera" on the bookshelves" and freely admits "I too have sinned. In weaker moments, I've been seduced by tales of celebrity, money, gossip and scandal." He notes: "Most authors want their work to be accessible to a typical educated reader, so the question really isn't whether the work is highbrow or lowbrow or appeals to the masses or the elites; the question is whether the book is expedient or built to last. Are we going for the quick score or enduring value? Too often, we (publishers and authors) are driven by the same concerns as any commercial enterprise: We are manufacturing products for the moment."

Karp also observes: "I can't prove it empirically, but when I talk to literary agents and fellow publishers, they acknowledge an unarticulated truth about our business: Fewer authors are devoting more than two years to their projects. The system demands more, faster. Conventional wisdom holds that popular novelists should deliver one or two books per year. Nonfiction authors often aren't paid enough to work full-time on a book for more than a year or two."  One result: "Journalism has long been regarded as the first rough draft of history; lately, however, books have too easily been thought of as the second rough draft, rather than the final word."

So, greater minds than I are all over this topic.  Beloved son once asked me, when I was lamenting my inability to churn out two or three books a year, "Do you want to write a lot of books, Mom, or books that will be remembered?"  'Nuff said.  Smart boy.

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IT'S A BLAST TO BE FAST

Two years and more is the usual writing time for a novel I'm doing. There has also been some months of research before that (and during).

However, when I have been, er, encouraged to write quickly (such as an agent suggesting an additional 80 - 100 pages in two months) I found it exhilarating and consuming and satisfying.

Not that I'd write a novel at that pace (though sometimes tempted).