Monday 12 March 2018

Writing Speeds & You - The Creative Process


I was inspired to write this piece by the lovely Bella Rose Pope, who's another author youtuber that I follow. She did a video on writing speeds (found here). One thing a ton of people said was, and Bella herself discussed in the video, that so many writers are told that they write too slowly. I wanted to do a piece on it because it's something I was bombarded with as a newbie writer all those years ago, and it's just not right.

Firstly, I will admit that I write fast. That said, I didn't always, and I don't write fast and sell my technique as anything other than something that works for me. I do not, and never will, tell any writer, newbie or otherwise that they need to have my output to be valid. That's not gonna happen in any time or place. My writing process is just that, mine, it's not yours, it's not gonna work for you because, surprise, you're not me. Every writer has their own process and anyone telling you that you should be writing a book in a short space of time is feeding you junk.

But I see them, I see the "how to write a novel in x time" - it's usually a week or thirty days. And I can't help but feel that that's just setting yourself up to fail. I can't write a novel in thirty days! No way! I'd have to skip sleep, food and all that other not optional stuff. On the other side of it, a novel written in thirty days is gonna be rushed to hell. You certainly can't write, edit and publish a novel in that time. It was something I was fed as a newbie writer and something I wanted to address. There are so many different ways to get your book written, but all of that takes time. And as I've said, it takes as long as it takes, and that's okay!

So many people seem to think that if you do something fast that makes it better, and it doesn't by a long shot. Writing takes time. Editing takes time. Formatting and covers take time. Plus we've not even broached the subject of promotional stuff, which, you guessed it, takes time! And rushing through the process helps no one. All it does is leave you stressed and worried about whether or not everything is going to come together. Writing should be fun. It's your passion, it's something you enjoy. You want your readers to look at your books and feel that enjoyment, and rushing through the process itself leaves room for a lot of mistakes.

I don't really know what started the whole writing in thirty days. I've read how-to books where the author has boasted about how they managed to churn out book after book after book. And it's impressive on some level, but also not sustainable. Eventually you're going to need to take a break, you're going to need time to breath and catch up with self-care. I know people think that you gotta keep releasing book after book to be successful, but that's just not true. Taking away from the traditional route, say you're going indie, even then I can name hundreds of successful authors who release once every couple of years. There's no time limit on creation, you gotta go at the speed that works for you. If you push yourself to breaking point, it's gonna mean time off and time away and possibly even burning you out of the job completely.

I know people think that you can hit publish, sit back, and wait for the money to just come rolling in. They think that to keep the cash flowing, you gotta keep writing, and while that's true to a point, it's not how publishing works. You have to produce quality work and that, you guessed it, takes time. It hurts my heart to think of people new to the writing world being sold lies and promises that just don't pan out. The bottom line is that writing a book is not some easy quick-rich scheme. It takes time and hard work. It takes input from not just yourself, but beta readers, editors, proofreaders, formatters and so on. All of that will take months, if not years to complete. And if you want to actually be successful, then you can not by any means skip a step.

I've been writing for over fifteen years, been published for coming up thirteen. It's a long path to go down, and to do it you gotta know your limits. When I talk of being organised and being motivated, I don't mean that someone should be following my process to the letter. I'm in a completely different situation to a lot of people, and what works for me may not work for you, and nor should it. You need to be working out what your process is. All the advice pieces in the world, all the tips and tricks that others use are all well and good, but you are the one who has to write the book. And whether that takes you six months to finish the first draft or if takes you six years, no one can tell you that's wrong. It takes as long as it takes, and that is more than okay.

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