Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Writing Slug


That's me. As a writer, I am a slug. I open my document and drag myself along, a few words here and there smeared along behind me on the page. I pull myself forward, inch by slimy inch. Oh, it's a long sidewalk I journey across, finally slipping down into the grass when I write "The End". But sluggy me only gets to rest in the cool grass for a few luxurious moments before I heave myself back onto the rough pavement and scrap my belly through revision after revision.

Haha, that sounds kind of gross. Still, it's accurate. I'm a slow snail of a writer. I can't sit down and write for hours at a time. I can't churn out pages and pages of words and make them a coherent story. I write scene by scene. Sometimes it gets so bad that I write sentence by sentence. I might get through one scene before I stop writing and go do something else. Sometimes I'll come back to writing after a few minutes, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I write a paragraph and stop. The fastest I ever write is when some lightning bolt of inspiration strikes, and I can write an entire scene in one sitting. And those lightning bolts? Well, the Gods of Writing don't favor me with those very often.

This is something that I've struggled with for as long as I've been writing (ahem, forever.). I can't write fast. I know writers who can write an entire book, granted a very rough draft, in three months. Sometimes less. It took me over two years to write my first book, a little over a year to write the second (although, I have to factor in being in college and working and then graduating and working full time, and I also started several other books which are unfinished). Still, I'm not a fast writer. I sit down, tell myself I'm just going to get it all on the page and revise it later, and ten minutes later I stop.

Any advice on writing faster? What do you do when you reach a place in your writing and don't feel like going further at that moment? How fast do you write?


Amparo Ortiz said...

Dude! I thought I was the only slug! Glad to know I'm not alone ;)

Trust me, it's not a bad thing to write bits by bits. My first drafts are the hardest for me to flesh out. Usually, I take about five months to finish one, then I edit like a maniac hooked on Starbucks Mocha Frappuccinos!

Why don't you set small goals for each day you sit down to write? Like, say, five hundred words on a day you feel so-so, and a thousand when you feel inspired and ready to kick some Word document booty? Just take each day as it comes. THE END is closer than you think...

DaniSue said...

I like the idea of setting goals, I'm definitely going to give it a try. Thanks!

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

I think setting goals is a great idea. Although, in my case, I've found that some days the words flow and some days they don't.