I often lament the fact that I’m a slow writer. It can be a bit frustrating at times to hear how my writer friends are pumping out story after story, especially after I’ve just spent weeks grinding out a mere seven or eight pages for my monthly crit group. It’s not that I’m not happy for my friends, but sometimes I wonder if I’m missing out on some secret knowledge. I know I’m a faster writer than I was a year or two ago, but my satisfaction upon completing a scene is often dampened by the realization of how much time I spent writing it.
Turns out I’m one of those people who tend to look on the bright side of things, so I’m happy to say that there ARE benefits to being a slow writer. For one thing, I have lots (and LOTS) of time to rethink earlier chapters and dream up ways of making them better. And it’s not at all unusual for me to be reading a book on writing craft and come across some technique I realize can (and should) be applied to a chapter I wrote six months earlier.
But the biggest advantage to writing slowly comes when I’m struggling with a scene I just can’t seem to make work. Instead of beating my head against the manuscript for too long, I simply do the best I can and move on, because almost invariably, I’ll come across a scene in another author’s book that does exactly what I want my scene to do. It may take six months or more before it happens, but who cares? It will take me way longer than that to finish writing my story.
I don’t copy the scene word for word, of course, but it usually gives me a framework to build my scene around, and many times, that’s all I need to get over the hump.
Do any of you slow writers out there know of other advantages we possess? I'd love to hear them.