Advice for Slow Writers
I’ve come to accept that in the writing world, I’m a tortoise.
I’m still a little envious when I see spectacular word counts trumpeted on Twitter. And impressed and inspired.
But no matter how hard I try, writing quickly is not for me. I’ve read all the advice – how if you want to go quickly just splat it down in a first draft and then edit. I can’t. I just can’t do it. If I’m not happy with the previous chapter, if I haven’t at least revised it three times, if there’s not a certain shininess, I get word constipation and no words are flowing then. Every step forward sees me look back.
It’s also about the way I write. I’m the world’s worst plotter. Yes, I’ve also read how plotting can help you write faster but if I don’t write, I don’t have a plot. I begin with an idea, a first sentence or paragraph I love, a character who is bullying me into letting them drive and a rough draft of the last page. So I know where I’m going and who is leading me on this journey, but I don’t know what will happen.
I’m always pleasantly surprised and secretly amazed that this approach comes together. Sure I take lots of detours, and occasionally I end up somewhere else, but I’m like that in real life, too. It works for me.
So my advice is, it’s okay to go slow. It might mean you need to find more time (I found four and a quarter hours a week here) or it might be it’s just going to take longer. I don’t even mind that. I use an app called Writeometer and it tells me when I’ll finish at the rate I’m going and makes sure I don’t go any slower.
Turtle power! Now where have I heard that before…