There’s another thing about writing most new writers don’t expect.
It takes a long time. A very long time.
I write a lot, and sometimes it appears I write very quickly, or at least try to, during every writing project I commit to. Especially when I talk about NaNoWriMo and writing 50,000 words in less than 30 days. I’m writing one novella per month this year and am up early to get this post out to you today before I focus on some other writing I need to get done before lunch.
But getting a lot of writing done doesn’t always mean you have to get it done quickly, and most of the time, I don’t. No one does. Especially when it comes to full-length novels.
It’s a very long and large kind of project to keep up with, and sometimes I think what stops a lot of aspiring writers from finishing what they start is feeling like they’re moving too slow. Not making enough progress. That the finish line is too far away and they’re never going to reach it.
It never feels good to feel rushed, regardless of whether you’re the one pushing yourself or someone else is pushing you. Sure, sometimes you can totally sit down and crank out a few thousand words at a time, multiple days in a row. But there’s always risk of burnout. You are always going to have an off day or two. Real life happens, and you have to put your book last for a little while.
That should never discourage you from writing anyway. A good book isn’t given that label based on how quickly it was written. It’s given that label because of the time and effort the writer, and her team put into making it that way.
I do write quickly, sometimes. There’s nothing wrong with a few good sprints every now and then. But it also took me over three years to finish my last book. Did I want to get it done sooner? Of course I did. But it would not have been as satisfying as it was if I would have just forced myself to rush through it. Writing is hard, but part of the thrill is looking at something you know you’ve worked really hard on and realizing you did that. You wrote that. You achieved that.
It takes time. Everyone writes at their own pace and has other things they need to balance with it. Give yourself smaller mini-deadlines to work toward. Give yourself plenty of room to take your time. What’s the rush, really? The more time you spend on your story (not too long, but just long enough), the more you will bond with your characters. The more efficiently and effectively you will be able to bring your story to life.
Slow down. Don’t worry if it feels like it’s taking forever. Be patient. And for the love of all things literary, cut George R. R. Martin some slack, all right?
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.
Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine, a guest contributor with Lifehack and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner and has also written for Teen Ink and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.