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I’m a slow novel writer. I envy those who can get a novel written in a month or even six months. I think part of it is that I often work on more than one project at a time. I also do editing and am a writing instructor. And I volunteer for a writing organization. Plus, there’s marketing the finished works, and social media… But I think another part of it is that I let my subconscious solve some of the scene problems while I do other things. This quote by Haley Chewins encourages me, “Here's one thing I've learnt about writing books. Don't assume that because you're moving slowly you're not making progress.”
I also edit as I go. It’s part of the process that works for me. Diana Wynne Jones said, "Everyone is different and that means that everyone is going to need to write a story in a different way. You have to discover how you need to do it. There is no easy way. You can only discover how to by doing it."
One of the things that motivates me to have chapters done is my critique group. I really hate going without a piece of semi-polished writing. It’s rare for me to dash off a page, a scene, a chapter and not set it aside to look at it again before I get feedback. Even with blog posts, I usually read them over again and again before posting. While this is good, it also means I’m slow.
I can get hung up on researching just the right thing, too. When I find the fact or detail or specific word, then I can move on. I like this quote: “Spending an hour looking for the right word might seem tedious, but it's what mathematicians, inventors and creators do so that at the end, the finished product looks like it came effortlessly.” – Stephen Mooser
The holidays (Thanksgiving through New Years) usually make me even slower. This past season I spent a lot of time recovering from various illnesses—the worst was vertigo. Being sick slows my brain power. I have to accept that and move on when I feel better. Just as I accept I’ll be taking time out for friends and family during the holidays.
Look at what John Steinbeck had to say, “When I face the desolate impossibility of writing 500 pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day's works is all I can permit myself to contemplate.” Starting the new year, I’m not focused on what I will accomplish for the year. Whether I will win the race with hare-like speed. Instead I plan to plod along one page at a time and like the tortoise, be successful.
SM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too. She also loves assisting other writers on their journeys.