Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Do you consider yourself a fast writer or a slow one? Why do you think that is? And if you are ever the opposite, why?

Hello, Go Teen Writers! Jill here. Who saw the eclipse yesterday? I did. I really liked how it made the landscape around me all golden and buttery.

This is my last week of summer. My kids start back to school next week, which means sleeping in for me is over! *weeps*

Last week I got to attend, teach, mentor, and play at yet another writers conference where I had two GTW sightings! I met author Ivy Rose and her friends, and I also saw Taylor Bennett again. Got pictures with both. :-) Click here to read more.

I also got to take an early bird workshop from screenwriting consultant Michael Hauge (who is a story genius--even Will Smith thinks so!) and the brilliant Frank Peretti, who was the conference keynoter. So much wonderful learning went into my brain. I am still trying to process it all.

We are nearing the end of our summer Q & A panels. *again weeps that summer is almost over, then remembers that Christmas will come and decides that's a good trade*

Below you'll find today's question that Stephanie, Shannon, and I have answered, and we want you to answer in the comment section so we can all learn from each other. I'm curious to read all of your answers to this one.

Do you consider yourself a fast writer or a slow one? Why do you think that is? And if you are ever the opposite, why?

Jill Williamson
Overall, I’m pretty fast. I can write a draft of a 80K novel in a month. Doesn’t mean it will be good, but I’ll have a solid rough draft. A combination of NaNoWriMo and working to meet deadlines have trained me to do this. Now, there are certain types of scenes, however, that totally destroy my work flow. Fight scenes. Major battles. Situations I know nothing about, for example, King’s Blood took place on ancient sailing ships. I knew nothing about ships, so I had to stop writing, research like crazy, and it still took me a long time to write the scenes that had to do with sailing or navigation. That’s just part of my process. I want to get those details right, so I stop and take the time to research.

Shannon Dittemore
Depends on the day. Depends on the project. Depends on LIFE. When discussing deadlines, I remember telling my publisher that I was a fast writer. How stupid was I? So stupid. It’s a dumb claim to make in such a moment and I hadn’t actually written enough at the time to understand that. My speed depends on a lot of things. My mood. My story. My schedule. The current brain space I have available for all of those things. For example, I should have been done with my current work in progress last fall. I was on schedule. Trucking along. No reason I shouldn’t make it. And then the landlord decided to put in new floors and my son was terrifyingly sick for almost a month and then our car broke down. And to cap it all off the doctors decided I needed to have my gallbladder removed. I could not have foreseen any of that and each incident required more energy, more time, and more brain space than I had to offer. My writing fell off and a book I should have finished last fall got turned into my agent in April. It’s real. It’s life. And, honestly, the ups and downs of it all can improve your story, if you’ll let it. Your imagination is still spinning back there while you’re busy doing other things. Let it. Life is not wasted on a storyteller.

Stephanie Morrill

I’m not absurdly fast. In general, I write about a thousand words an hour. But in my current stage of life, I lack consistent stretches of time in which I can write, so I don’t produce books very quickly. And my edits tend to take me quite a while.

Now it's your turn. Do you consider yourself a fast writer or a slow one? Why do you think that is? And are you ever the opposite?


  1. I must say I'm like Stephanie and Shannon...I write slowly but I can keep up a nice pace if I know what I'm doing. If not then I stall and delete alot of things and waste time. So when I lack the inspiration or direction I will usually do a bit of research or notes or something that is beneficial to me. Since writing is not a career for me I want to love what I'm doing and though writing is work I never want it to be dull and dreary. For me that happens when I lose sense of direction...which I am working on getting better at and planning out things better.

    That's just me! :)

    Anna |

  2. I'm both. When I'm in a groove and want to write, I write extremely fast. When I'm not feeling it, I tend to write a little slower. Life also gets in the way sometimes and I have a tendency to want to write when I have other responsibilities to tend to.

    As a whole, I'd say I'm medium speed. XD


  3. I can write a lot if I set myself down to it. It's hard to focus, but... you know. I can write 10,000 words in a day, but that means nothing else is happening in my life that day. So, like Ivie says... I guess it depends.

  4. I'd say I'm a pretty fast writer as long as I'm not in a hard place or somewhere my computer isn't. I wrote the first draft of a 9,218 word story a couple months ago in a week. It was not great at all and I'm still not sure what to do with it, but now I know it is not a good idea to write the first draft in a week.

  5. I'm on the slower end of the spectrum, but like Shannon said, it depends on so many factors! I've written 20-30k word novellas in the space of a month or two. I've written a novel over the space of a few years. And editing speed always fluctuates depending on life and the shape the story is in. :P I was editing/expanding a novella into a novel this three months it grew from 20k to almost 70k. So in short--I don't know!

    Like Stephanie, I can do a thousand words in an hour provided the situation is favourable. ;) But like Jill, fight scenes/unknown elements slow me down a lot!

    1. Gah! Evil fight scenes! Maybe I should take up fencing...

    2. I've actually thought about that! XD And archery...and horseback riding...and all the outdoors skills EVER. (All this from the girl who doesn't even like tenting, ha.)

      Or...we just kidnap Carla Hoch from the fight workshop at Realm Makers and get her to teach us her ways! ;)

  6. I think I write slow. It depends on my book at the time some times I just can't figure out what to do next. So I drag my feet. My first book to finish took five years a novella. This one I am working on now has taken me four months and am so close to finish it. For me I need to write everyday and not get discouraged in my story.

  7. I'm both; fast writer, slow editor. The reason? I've figured out how to let myself write really terrible first drafts, so much so that I finished one of my current WIPs in a month and a half last fall during my third semester as a full-time college student. But I haven't yet cracked the code of effectively fixing those drafts. It's in macro edits that I reach the point where I'm utterly sick of my current manuscript and move on to the next project until I can get myself back together.
    I also can't impose deadlines on myself, or as I get closer to the deadline, I stress out so much that I go through a nervous breakdown. That's how I learned last year not to rush editing; the product will only suffer for it. Right now, miserable as it is, I'm just going with the flow.

  8. Gah! I write very slowly, with an average of just over 1,000 words on a good day (for the whole day). I once wrote over 5k words in one day, but that was once...and three years ago. But I tend to only get a couple hours every afternoon to write, so I usually only get about 500 words. I guess this is because I mentally reword sentences as I write them. Lucky, I am able to edit much faster.

  9. I tend to write pretty slowly. I don't know why, it's just that I've always been that way. The ideas definitely come into my head very fast, but I take longer to actually write them down. However... last year was my first year doing NaNoWriMo, and somehow I managed to write roughly 65k in one month. But after that, I slowed waaaaaay down, and I'm STILL trying to finish the second draft! Also, I totally get what you said about the different types of scenes. I'm the same way; certain scenes I'm able to write faster than others.
    And yes, I watched the eclipse. It was awesome!!

  10. I think of myself as fast but I'm probably not. All of my friends are slower than me but none of them like writing like I do. I can also be very very slow though. Some things take me longer than others, especially if I'm trying to choose my words carefully, but generally once I know what I'm doing and where I'm going I speed up

  11. Most of the time I am a slow writer, but sometimes I can write several thousand words in a few hours, and battle/talk scenes I write very quickly and easily.