Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Advantages of Being a Slow Writer

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.

ChemistKen


11 comments:

  1. I think we're just taking our time to do it right!

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    1. Yep. The only thing I have to worry about is actually finishing the darn thing.

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  2. Like you, I'm a slow writer and feel kind of down when my friends pump the books out. I don't know what the advantage is to being slow, but I do know there's no sense in trying to hurry myself because then I just get flustered and lose my sense of the story I'm trying to tell. I'm a deliberate person, and I like to craft my work. Not that faster writers aren't crafting, but . . . I don't know. I am who I am and I write the way I write. Comparing myself to anyone else is only setting myself up to feel like a failure.

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    1. Writing faster would only make my stories sound worse, so I choose quality over quantity.

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  3. I blame my slowness on being easily distracted. :)

    That's cool that you find techniques to apply. Can you give an example? I'm wondering if I can spot stuff like that.

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    1. Nothing too major. Things like realizing that the character should have a weakness that you can weave into the story arc. Or how the mid point reversal should shift the story noticeably. Stuff you may already know about.

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  4. I'm not fast either. I'm quite slow to start. I need inspiration to smack me in the head or find it a big struggle to write.

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    1. Hey, if I could be as productive as you, I'd have no complaints.

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  5. Pssst. Lean in close while I whisper this little tidbit ...
    Many of the writers I know of who write really fast produce rather predictable stories. There, I said it.

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  6. You've shown me an advantage to being slow. You're chapters are always so well written and polished. It's like you skip or move past the first draft (or even second draft) crap that a lot of the faster writers submit. I've been trying to model you and take my time.

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  7. I write slow and like to savor what I'm creating. Maybe it's more satisfying when you are really giving your story time to percolate, or something. It's why I read kind of slow, too. I get more out of what I'm doing if I don't just rush through it. It's like that saying, it's the journey that counts, not the destination.

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