Fast vs Slow

I was saving this for Sunday's roundup of links, but it keeps getting longer and longer. Links are at the end.

For the approximately two people reading this who haven't heard, there's a discussion going on about fast writers and slow writers. Really not much of a debate since everyone pretty much seems to agree that writing speed doesn't affect the quality of a book.

Do fast writers create worse books than slow writers? It depends on the writer. Since I am a slow writer, I would love for the answer to be “yes, so writers should slow down,” but I just don't believe that's true.

That said, I have a feeling it's easier for people who have lots of examples of people who write slower than they do to say it's ok to write slow than it is for unpublished writers like me who look at their examples of “slow” and laugh.

This used to be a painful issue for me. A few years ago when I was hanging out on Forward Motion, the culture there was really tilited towards fast writers. Marathons, wordcount wars, discussion in the forums all made it seem that fast was the way to go. I really felt that no matter what I did, I would never be fast enough. (I left the community for a long time, and it doesn't seem nearly that bad now.)

Eventually I got over it. I'd still like to write faster, but at least now I have reasons. While I'm relieved to hear that has a client who turns in one book every four years, she also repeats a number I've heard before: Yes, the going knowledge among editors and agents is that a professional writer of fiction should attempt to turn in at least one book a year to keep their name on the shelves and build some sort of sales momentum.

That's the second reason I want to get faster. The first is that I want to finish more books in my lifetime.

Luckily, my writing speed is gradually improving. Someday I may even become a slow writer rather than a slothlike writer!


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