Do you write fast – or slow?
I have to admit that I am very slow. It’s not because I don’t have a routine or a good work ethic or that I’m an ill-disciplined procrastinator. Whatever else I do, I write (almost) every day and I can work to precise word-counts and meet tight deadlines when I have to. But when I don’t have to, I write slowly.
First, I have to dream my way into a story, carefully feeling my way as I go. Then I have to write a detailed plan – not that I ever stick to it - but just so I have something to refer to if I lose my way. Even when I’ve actually started writing, I edit and re-write my work as I go along – seemingly against the advice of every writing expert on the planet.
They argue – with the indisputable support of a handy mathematician or calculator – that even if your word count is only 500 words a day, at the end of a year, you will have written the first draft of a novel – or two!
Of course, this approach ignores the days spent editing when your word-count ends up as a minus number and the days spent doing research or background reading or publicity or visiting schools or – heaven forbid – playing Scrabble, drinking wine and catching up with friends. As far as I’m concerned though, it all counts.
Am I alone? Surely, I’m not the only person who lives life – and writes - slow.
My latest novel, SKIN DEEP, was published on 1 September 2011 by Tamarind/Random House. The next one will be along in 2013.