I write slow.
I don’t want to, mind you, and I’m not particularly proud of it, but it’s the truth. I’ve spent years marveling at those who can write 2000 words in an hour, who write 10,000 words (or more—gah!) in a day. I’ve read all the blog posts about upping your productivity, about how you, too, can write like the wind.
But still, I only ever seem to be able write like a faint breeze.
For me, a really good, focused hour nets about 1000 words. But those hours are few and far between—most end with 300-600 words at best. (Pardon me while I sob quietly in the corner for a moment.) One miraculous day I hit a total of 6000 words…and it only took me 12 hours of neglecting my family to do so. In the midst of my guilt over leaving the kids in front of screens for that entire day, I was deliriously happy at my productivity. Of course, it was a one-time thing that I’ve yet to be able to replicate.
Because I’m inherently slow at writing.
And while I do pine for the ability to get all the words down and write a novel in a week, I have come to realize there are actual benefits to writing slow.
1. A Good Story Takes Time.
Maybe this isn’t true for everyone, but for me the more time the story has to stew in my imagination, the better and more complicated it gets. The better I am at solving plot problems in a more original way. The more creative the twists and turns become. The deeper and more interesting the story becomes. That’s because…
2. It’s the Little Things that Make ALL the Difference.
My absolute FAVORITE part of books are the little details. To me, that’s what makes a story—the set-ups that lay the foundation for what happens later, the little jokes between characters that get carried through the book. As a reader, those are my favorite touches—they’re what make a good book great. As a writer, coming up with them makes me ridiculously giddy and further fuels my excitement for my WIP.
But the thing is, those little fun aspects take time. You have to let the story sit with you for a while for the gems to rise up in the workings of your mind. In my experience, racing through a story, writing as fast as you can just to get the words down, the story in place quick, quick, quick, means you end up with mostly a surface story that lacks depth.
3. Every Word Counts.
My daily goal is usually 2000 words. But if I’m being honest, I have to admit I don’t usually meet it. So when I’ve written less than 500 words for the day, I have to remind myself it’s still progress. That it’s more than I had yesterday. That every word counts, every word gets you closer to The End. Even if it’s only 100 words. Even if it’s only 17.
It all adds up.
So even though I still get a little green when I see other writers racking up the words each day and wish I was doing the same, I’m (mostly) okay with being slow. It’s working for me. And, as a writer, that’s all that really matters.
Jen Meyers is happiest when she’s creating—characters, novels, coloring books, salsa, sweets, sweaters, art, etc. She has worked as a professional actor, singer, and artist (among other things), and she writes fiction because she’s totally in love with making things up for a living. She is the author of the Happily Ever After series, Anywhere, the Intangible series, and co-author of the Untamed series. She also creates totally inappropriate self-affirming sweary coloring books (which make her ridiculously happy). Find her on Twitter and Instagram as @jmeyersbooks or visit www.jmeyersbooks.com for more information about Jen and her books.
One thought on “The Benefits of Being a Slow Writer”
One thousand quality words wins out over ten-thousand words carelessly slung out to see what sticks. One thousand words, 20 days a month will yield you a novel length manuscript in four months ( 80,000 words) not too shabby.
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