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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Things I Love to Hear Other Writers Say....

Now, understand...I don't put myself in Norm's class. Far from it. I can't imagine EVER being even close to him as a storyteller.

But I still have to say I love it, feel very reassured when I hear writers talking about how they don't write very fast. This is something I've come to understand better about myself in the last few years. A humbling experience, indeed.

Early on - after my first "publication" - I thought I was king. The man. "Prolific Writer" was what I wanted to call myself. And, spurred on by that first "sale", I wrote stories at the frenzied pace of squirrel with ADHD on crack.

And then I "placed" them (because no one bought them. There's a reason for that, of course) all over the place. Thought I was "the man". A King. "Prolific Writer".

Then I got the contributor copies. Saw how bad these "magazines" were. How bad the other stories were. And then realized how bad MY stories were.

So the slowing down began.

And I continue to slow down today.

But this is the best thing for me. I'm a full-time teacher, husband, and dad. I write a little bit every single day, and besides...on the days I've tried to go on five hour writing binges, I'm still only able to write for two hours. I just get so tired. And I figure if I try to push past that and write tired...

I'm just gonna write crap.

Now, for the New York pitch I actually wrote an outline and synopsis. If someone runs with that project, it'll write much faster because of that. But my current novel has been in progress for over a year. And no end is in sight so far.

But you know what?

I like it that way. And I wonder. I've read so many novels these past few years, (mostly horror), that read as if the author took about a month and half to draft, write, and redraft. Even four months seems too fast, for me.

Of course, I better not quit my day job. Because then things would change. I'd have to be faster. But then, I'm thinking more and more that being slow is a good thing. It thwarts my impatience. Makes me really THINK and write well. If I were faster?

Then my impatience would run unchecked. And I don't know about much, but I do know this: when people read my work, I want them to see the blood, sweat and tears it took to write it. I want them to sense the soul I took forever to imbue it with. I want them to know that I've written with care and joy and great passion.

So being slow?

Turning out to be more and more of a good thing....

American Frankenstein: A Man's Got To Know His Limitations: "I've often wished I was a faster writer. Oh, sometimes I have been. One of my best writing memories is finishing my first novel in a one-da..."


  1. I agree Kevin. Just because a writer puts out 5 short stories, 3 novellas and 1 novel a year, that doesn't make their work solid, gripping and worth the paper they're written on.
    the old adage, "Rome wasn't built in a day" is true and well, The Stand wasn't written in a weekend out back in the shack either.

    It's too easy to write fast and think that it's great. I've made the same mistake.

    Thanks for another great post my friend.

  2. Things take what they take. If someone can write quickly, more power to them. I can't. I also don't write well when I sit at the computer. My best comes from scribbling in a notebook, 5-6 pages at a time, then transcribing it into Pages. It forces me to do a first edit before typing anything in.

    I started my first novel last May and should have the first draft completed this May. Then I'll spend three months editing and rewriting, preparing for an August launch of the ebook. With luck, I stay on schedule.

    Good luck with yours!

  3. No problem, Tom. Just me echoing the words of much better writers than I.

    Pale Rambler:

    "My best comes from scribbling in a notebook, 5-6 pages at a time, then transcribing it into Pages. It forces me to do a first edit before typing anything in."

    You basically just took the words out of my heart and soul. I MUST write long hand for it to be quality. Very rarely have I ever typed something only. Even the stories I started typing, I always finish long hand. Takes much longer, but I always feel like I get much deeper into the story.