The other day, while I was procrastinating writing a scene for my current WIP, I was browsing Instagram. One of the hashtags that I follow is “writer’s problems” because often times you see a lot of funny writing-related memes pop up. And there was one that at first made me chuckle, but then it also got me thinking very deeply. It was a picture of a cheetah side-by-side with a snail, and the caption said, “Coming up with the idea, versus actually writing it down.”
I couldn’t help but laugh at the accuracy of the meme. But then I started thinking about being a slow writer and what that means. I’ve completed one whole novel, but it’s taken me an entire five years to write, edit, rewrite, get professionally edited, and re-rewrite to the point where it’s finally something that can be considered “good” and ready for the querying rounds. Meanwhile, I’ve watched various other writers showcase their ability to fly through the completion of manuscripts like it was nothing. And that always had me feeling insecure to a certain degree. Was something wrong with the way I write? Should I be pumping out manuscripts at a much quicker rate?
But then it hit me, no. Nothing is wrong with going at my own pace. If you are someone that can easily crank out 100K in a matter of months, then that is awesome. If you’re not, that is awesome too. Just because you’re a slow writer doesn’t mean that you don’t lack the focus or motivation to write a book. Everyone has their own pace, and you are exactly right where you need to be. In fact, pacing doesn’t matter at all, what is most important is that you don’t stop writing.
But, if you need a little extra reassurance as a slow writer, here are some other “slow” writers that turned out to be great:
The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien – 12-17 years
No Great Mischief, Alistair MacLeod – 13 years
Les Miserables, Victor Hugo – 12-17 years
Finnegan’s Wake, James Joyce – 17 years
The Catcher and the Rye, JD Salinger – 10 years
Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton – 8 years
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, JK Rowling – 6 years
Lord of the Flies, William Golding – 5 years
See? You’re in some good company as all of these are household names. So, don’t get down if it’s been a few years and you’re still toiling away with your WIP. The most important thing is that you don’t give up.