It’s no great mystery why. I’m a slow writer. With the exception of a couple of speculative series I tried out, I write out most of my manuscripts longhand. I noticed that the writing with an output directly on the computer screen lacks in quality compared to what I put in a notebook then type out later. I found out from two seasoned writers that this is no anomaly. Apparently, there is a different thought process when writing directly to a computer word processor than there is when writing out by hand. That was a relief to find out.
I can write quickly. I do that for a living. However, there is no personality in that writing. Content for the web is quite dry and formulaic, so I could churn it out after getting used to it. But I can’t do this for my fiction. I’m also doing a little better with the upcoming blog posts, but I’m sure that the prospect of fulfilling a short-term dream drives me to make it as high in quality as possible.
Even when I wrote out fiction longhand, I would try to set goals for myself such as three pages in a three-hour session. I could make that sometimes. It’s nearly 2000 words. Of course, this isn’t always possible. Sometimes the fire is lit but other times I just can’t get started very well. Quite frankly, I can’t write something down just for the sake of writing. I’m not the best writer by any means, but I can tell when something’s crappy and I can’t commit myself to crappy.
I know there are many people who can write quickly and do it well. 50,000 words in a month is nothing. I’ve probably done that before. However, I also have a draft of a novel more than 100,000 words in my folder, but I still don’t know what it’s about. I have another novel around 90,000 words that still needs some work. Then there’s also the detective novel that needs to get past its first draft. Don’t talk to me about my first three self-published efforts that I can barely stand to think about much less look at…
I am currently in the middle of a literary novel I’ve been working on for the better part of a year. I think I began outlining it last year then changed the trajectory to something that seemed to work better for the story. For the first time, I am writing out of sequence, which is a little easier because I am writing from multiple points of view. I know the themes I want to work with and I know how I want the story to end. I also have the beginning, but the middle is still trying to work itself out.
I’ve resigned myself to the fact that it takes me some time to write something worth sharing with others. I try to factor in elements such as research that are bound to slow me down but will inevitably make my writing better. I do still try to write some fiction directly to the word processor because I want to train myself to write in a variety of modes. However, I will always prefer taking pen to paper and carry around at least four notebooks when I sit in the cafe to write. But I would like to extend my best wishes to everyone participating in NaNoWriMo. I hope you get above and beyond that 50,000 with some awesome stories to tell. (In case you’re wondering, this was not handwritten beforehand ;-P)