I am a slow writer. I’m talking snail slow. Molasses on a cold day slow. George R.R. Martin slow.
I don’t like writing at this pace. I have ideas, stories, entire series impatiently waiting to be written– but they all just have to keep waiting. It’s not only the ideas that are on hold, either; interested readers have been waiting for the follow-up to Love Lies Bleeding since… *checks calendar*….2017. Yikes. I’m really sorry, guys. I promise I’m working as fast as I can.
It’s especially frustrating for me when I see other authors putting out books like clockwork. Some can get one completed every year, some every few months. Some even manage to deliver new books every few weeks. Meanwhile I’m over here trying not to think about all my lost potential.
I have reasons, of course. Too many to list, some probably more valid than others. The last several years I’ve been dealing with a lot: grief, major disruptions in my living situation, an ongoing attempt to buy a home and finally settle down, and– oh yes– an apparently never-ending pandemic. Isaac Newton may have been able to discover the theory of gravity while isolating from the Plague, but I find the stress of trying to not catch a deadly disease isn’t particularly conducive to the creative process.
Even if all these issues disappeared tomorrow, I’m pretty sure I’d still be a slower-than-average writer. That’s because the main reason I take as long as I do is one that will never go away. Simply put: I don’t want to force it. When the Muse is with me, I can get pages and pages done. Those are great days. But the Muse isn’t always so generous. The thing is, you can still write when you’re not inspired. You can sit in front of your keyboard and tell yourself you need to produce X number of words, and then you can do it. We’ve all been there, with a word count and a deadline and grim determination.
But just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do it.
Reality is, no one produces their best work when they’re forcing themselves. They’re lucky if they produce anything halfway decent under those circumstances. I could churn out books like some writers do, but those would never be books I’d be happy with. I’ve read my fair share of rushed books, and I think it’s safe to say that the authors who write that way probably aren’t really happy with their work, either.
When I take my time with my writing, I can make sure I’m producing something worth the effort. I can put together a story I would want to read and, hopefully, one that readers will find worth reading.
Maybe once life settles down a bit, I’ll be able to pick up the pace. But I hope my readers will understand if I can’t get a new book to them as often as we’d all like.
How about you– is there something you prefer to take your time doing? Share in the comments…
My next book is coming along, but in the meantime give these a read:
If you prefer paperback, use this link to order Love Lies Bleeding from Bookshop – a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself. Thank you for supporting indie! ♥
Aspasía S. Bissas