What’s the hurry?


Hi, I’m Misty, and I’m a slow writer.

Have you ever tried to pour the last quarter-ounce of honey out of the plastic bear?  And waited for what seemed ever just for it to reach the hole in the top?  That’s me.  I blame my day job when anyone asks, but the reality is that I write really slowly.  I can’t leave a paragraph and go on to the next until I know it’s verging on perfect.  I’m hideously jealous of people who can slap out 10K words in a week, words they don’t worry about editing until the whole book is done.  I’ve been told by professionals and I’ve read books that tell me I’m doing it wrong, that I should spill words onto the page the way a toddler spills milk, waiting until later to clean up the mess.  I’ve tried, to no avail.  I sign up for NaNoWriMo every year, not because I think I can manage 50K words in 30 days, but because the arbitrary deadline at my busiest time of year does help to keep me focused.  In the last five years of playing along, I’ve only “won” once.  I spent a summer in The Artist’s Way, faithfully scribbling those morning pages the Way demands.  When the course was over, I was right back to my old ways.   Sometimes I can go nuts with pen and paper, but even that loses its luster after a few days.  I’m not a spiller – I’m a careful placer.  It’s how I roll.

Two weeks ago, I was asked to read the galleys of an upcoming Tor title and provide a quote.  Reading the book took two days.  Writing the quote?  An eternity.  I worked on it every day, worrying that this word wasn’t quite right or it was running too long.  I eventually sent it off, and the recipient seemed happy with what I’d crafted (even though I was stressing as soon as I hit “send”.  *hee*)  It’s okay, though.  The words come slowly, but they come.  And if I manage five or ten pages in a week, I can be proud that those pages are the shiniest prose I can bleed onto the screen.


5 comments to What’s the hurry?

  • You seem to be doing just great with at the speed you write, Misty. As we say so often, there’s no right way to write. I can’t write at Catie’s pace, though there are times when I wish I could. But my pace seems to suit me pretty well, as does my approach to polishing and editing. This is the hand I was dealt, and I’ll play it for as long as I can.

  • Ditto David. I agree totally.

    I don’t think you are stressing, Misty, but if you are — *stop!* You write prose that is lovely, clean, and emotion-full.

    I too wish I had Catie’s endurance and speed, but I don’t. Once, maybe I could have aspired to that kind of word count, but I don’t even try now! A long day in the desk chair leaves me worn out and in pain. We have to write the way that works best for us all.
    Kudos for the post!

  • Wendy

    Sometimes I despair of ever being published, but on those occasions that I believe in my writing completely, I often despair of ever being able to keep up a pace that makes editors and publishers happy.

    This post gives me hope. You sound like me.
    Thank you.

  • Beatriz

    And I shall forevermore stop teasing you to “hurry up and finish, damnit!”

    I promise!

  • I am he same way. There are times when I take an hour to get out one sentence. Of course there are other times when the words pour out of me.

    I guess I write in spurts…. :-/