Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Debunking the Myths of Writing Fast or Slow

I've just finished reading (and making copious notes) from the book written by Steven Manning called "How to Write a Book on Anything In 14 Days or Less." I'd like to give you a link to this book so that you can read it for yourself, but it seems to be out of print.

Anyway, it got me thinking about fast writing compared to slow writing and how some authors seem to think that writing a book slowly and taking maybe a year or two to write it, means that their book will be better than someone else who wrote their book in a couple of days or even weeks.

Reading Steven Mannings book showed that writing quickly AND writing well is possible because it has 5-minute writing exercises in it. And when I did the exercises, I was surprised at how well I can write with so little time to write and practically no time to think. Yet my brain kicked into gear each time and I was really pleased with how well I did.

I then looked up what author Dean Wesley Smith had to say about it because he is currently one of the MOST prolific writers I know. He knocks out a novel every single month plus several short stories, copious blog posts, holds writing workshops and runs his own publishing company. He is a rock star when it comes to writing and publishing.

And according to Dean, he says that he is not a fast writer and the only reason his writing output is so high is because he spends a lot of time writing every day.

He even broke down his writing speed like this:

He can easily write 250 words in 15 minutes. So that means that if he only wrote for 15 minutes a day, he could write a 90,000-word novel in a year.

So if he wrote for 30 minutes a day he could write 2 novels a year and if he wrote for an hour, 4 novels a year... and so forth.

As it is, he writes 12 novels a year and does all his other writing besides. Most months he writes over 100,000 words including his short stories, blog posts, and emails.

Which means that with his speed of 1,000 words an hour, he must be writing over 3,300 words a day which is around 3 hours a day.

And he says (and I totally agree) that writing fast doesn't mean writing badly and writing slowly doesn't mean writing well.

This is because every writer is different and we each have different amounts of time each day when we can sit and write. Plus every project is different. Sometimes it's possible to knock out a book in just a week or two and other times it can take months.

There is also state-of-mind to consider. Sometimes, if I'm tired or ill and I don't feel like writing, I tend to think that my writing will be suffering. But later, when I'm feeling better, I'll check my work and find out that it didn't make any difference. The only difference was that it probably took me longer than usual to write, but the quality of my work is still the same.

Dean Wesley Smith also says, and he is completely correct, that writing too slowly can hurt your writing because that is when the critical part of the brain takes over and tries to stop you from writing. Writing quickly with only the creative brain is better than slowing down and letting your inner critic in.

And because there is no need to wait for a traditional publisher to publish your book, it frees you up to write as many books as you want to in a year and publish them all.

Read more about this at Dean Wesley Smith's 'Writing In Public' series.

Learn how to write any book in 28 days or less.

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