Monday 13 June 2022

Writing Speeds Revisited - The Creative Process


I've talked about this before (piece found here) but I thought that it would be a good idea to look back at the topic again and give you my thoughts on it. Too much of the time, the focus when it comes to writing is how fast you can get things done, how productive you can be. While that might have its place when you're on deadline, it's not really much use when you have other commitments and sucks on your time. Like if you have kids, a day job, or are chronically ill and/or disabled. So many factors come into play when we're talking about writing speeds and I'm going to try and break them down, and tell you why you shouldn't worry about them too much.

You all know my story, but for those new to the blog, let me break it down simply for you. I am disabled and chronically ill, I don't have another job, I don't have any major commitments to my time, so my writing speed is going to be different to someone who does have all of that. I've also been writing for a good number of years, coming up on the 17th book birthday of my debut, so I've been in the game for a while.

Yet a lot of people will look at how many books I've released, almost twenty, and drafted, almost forty, and think that I must advocate for speedy writing and all the rest. The truth is that I don't. I may have what appears to be all the time in the world to write, but I don't have the mental and physical energy to do that. I write a chapter (sometimes two) a day and then I'm pretty much done for work. I do write about four books a year, but even then compared to many rapid release authors, that ain't nothing!

I've always been considered prolific, and while I don't disagree with that, I do want to make it clear that if you look at how many books published and put it beside the books drafted, you'll see that it takes me a long time to be able to actually get the book from first draft to out in the world for all to read. It usually takes me about five to seven years to finally get a book finished and ready for publication, and I didn't always write two books in about six months. It used to take me years to finish a book, I think the longest was thirteen of them, but that was a book I started as teen and didn't really consider finished until my twenties and beyond.

My point is that it's easy to look at someone else's output and think that you should be committing to the same level, and it's easy to see that someone else pumped out 40K this month and you only managed 10K or less. It's really hard not to compare and judge yourself against someone else, but it's also really important that you don't. It's that way that unhappiness and madness lies. You don't know, from the glance on social media, what someone else is struggling with. You also don't know whether they plan or pants, whether they write daily, or every week. You don't know if they managed to hit a new record for them with the speed of writing, and you don't know how happy they are with the words on the page. You also don't know how long it'll take them, or has taken them to get from idea to draft to revision to edits to publish. You don't know any of that unless you ask, and even if you do, you can't compare the two.

There are so many different reasons for why a book takes as long as it does, and all of them are valid. Yes, ALL of them. Even if it's a case of the writer not working on it for months or years at a time. There is no invalid reason for why a book takes the time it does to finish. No one, not even you, needs to justify the time they took to write and all of that to anyone, including yourself.

As someone wiser than me said, it takes as long as it takes, and that's okay, and that applies to writing speeds as well, so don't go beating yourself up because someone else did it faster than you. Breathe, and relax, and enjoy the process!

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!

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