Friday, October 8, 2010

Tortoise or Hare?

When it comes to writing are you...
a tortoise or a hare?
a snail or a sailfish?
molasses or lightning?

I'm more of a snailish tortoise crawling through molasses.

I'm slow and always have been when it comes to writing. When I was in college my roommate and I were both English majors and were sometimes in the same class. If we had a paper due and were working in our dorm room together, we'd both sit down with our notebooks and start writing. My roommate would put her pencil to paper (this was before the days of laptops) and before I knew it she'd have a full page written while I agonized over the first paragraph trying to get it just right. She'd have hers written in one night and it would take me days. And yet we both received high grades for our work. We simply had different methods.

Even in my journal writing or when writing a letter to a friend (no email or social networking back then), I'd try to choose just the right words. Then I'd edit it and write it over. Imagine writing a rough draft for a journal entry? Yes, I can be a bit about my writing, no matter what it is.

Sometimes I wish I could write faster. I marvel at those authors who can whip out a first draft of 80k in three months or less. That's Speedy Gonzales fast! And so not me. But that's okay. I accept that about myself. I'm never...well, I don't think I'll ever...write a novel in a month (hello? why did I sign up for another nanowrimo). Could I be more disciplined? Sure. But I'll still sit and ruminate over an idea, a scene, the right word choice. I'll still write a chapter longhand, let it sit overnight, then type it in Word while I edit along the way. It works for me.

So what's your method? Do you write fast or slow?


  1. I took a time machine and went back to KarenG's BBQ -- that's how I located your blog. As far as writing, once I finally get started I can get on a roll and write pretty fast. Getting started is sometimes the big deal for me. I will probably do another round of NaNo this year. Last year it really whipped me into shape for a while.

    Tossing It Out

  2. Welcome Arlee Bird!
    That's what I like about the NaNo too. It provides the extra drive to write on days when it's hard. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

  3. Sometimes when i write so fast with pen and paper the beginnning of the next word used to link-up with the end of the last word, it was weird, but then i went to college and had to do lots and lots of note taking and developed a short hand which seemed to organise my mind better, so while I write fast (125 words to others' 50) my handwriting is pretty awful.LOL! :O)

  4. I'm a hare on crack who has been struck by lightening made of Red Bull! Three to four months is my rule of thumb for banging out a 80,000 word manuscript. Editing obviously makes that process a lot longer, but I don't plan, I just write. When I plan, it slows me down, so I trust my instincts, lose myself and let the words flow.

  5. That sounds like a great method, Madeleine. Sometimes I have trouble deciphering my crossed out sentences and added text squeezed in the margins when typing it in the computer.

    I'm a hare on crack who has been struck by lightening made of Red Bull!
    Donna, you never fail to inspire me with your incredible pace!

  6. I cranked out 80k in 30 days, but I've spent eternity on the editing.