Thursday, 7 March 2013

Quick On the Draw: I'm Just a Slow Writer



I just can’t do it.
Many of the online writers who I follow seem to be able to put out work at a phenomenal rate. God, Anton lesch manages to put a story out every day, and they are still great! I just can’t write that fast. Well, that’s partly true, but also partly a lie, and I never like to lie to my readers. 
Let me explain…
All writers have different rates of work. Some will write only a few words a day agonising over each syllable, others will churn out thousands knowing that they can then go back and rewrite to clean it up. Me? I’m kind of in the latter camp.
I can write a 5000 word short story in one day. That’s quite a lot, to be honest. My average is 2000 words in one day as well as rewrites. But the question remains: ‘Is it any good?’. Since people have been reading my stories the pressure is most definitely on. Don’t get me wrong, I love the feeling of being accountable for the quality of my work, but that accountability can be very time consuming.
It was said of Christopher Hitchens that he could get drunk the night before, wake up rough, jump straight into some lunchtime drinks and then produce 2000 perfect words of copy. Again, not for me. I have to get my draft down and then shape it. The first draft gets the plot down, but the description, the atmosphere, the mood of the piece is either forged in subsequent drafts or heavily developed.
So, it isn’t a question I suppose of not being able to write fast. It’s a question of not being able to write fast and well. It takes time. I want those who have invested in the book to get the best stories I can muster. I want those who are waiting for the last two stories which will be freely available before launch (‘The Mermaid of Porthleven’ and ‘Frozen’) to get enjoyment out of them.
When I look back at some of my other stories, ‘Pass it On’ being the most obvious, they were first drafts with some slight editing and shaping. I feel I can do better than that, and hope that when people do finally read the stories I’ve been working on since I last posted ‘A Christmas Feast’ in December, that they will say: ‘It was worth the wait’.
~ Mike

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