Some of you may remember my post a while back about handwriting my books. It’s a habit that has served me well, and I’ve just finished my fourth book written this way: legal pads and slant-tipped sign pens. I have no way to prove quantitatively that writing this way promotes my creativity, but it would certainly seem to. Never before have I written four books in only thirteen months. But that could be a fluke, right?
When I began this handwriting journey, as soon as I had transcribed the words from the pad to the computer, I tossed the pad into the recycle bin. The text was safely embedded in Word; I didn’t need the handwritten words any more. It was my husband’s idea that I save them. For posterity, he said. Yeah, like anyone’s going to care, I thought, but I did start saving them. Then, with my last book, I got another idea. I wrote down the date I started each pad. I had always taken casual note of how long it took me to write a book, sometimes nine months, sometimes three, but I never clocked it exactly. This time, when I finished the book, I actually figured out the word count of each pad and using the dates, calculated how many words a day I was writing. Continue reading “How Fast Do You Write?”
Earlier this week, Huffington Post published an article by Lorraine Devon Wilke addressed to “Self-Published Authors,” asking them NOT to write four books per year. It was a long article, but the gist was: no one can write four good books per year. Not you, not I, no one.
Horse puckey. I thought the indie community had hashed this all out years ago, but here it is again: the old “If you’re fast, you can’t be good” chestnut, raising its hoary head once again in the form of a clickbait article on HuffPo. Just because I don’t write four books per year doesn’t mean I think it’s impossible. I can’t run 100 meters in under ten seconds, but Usain Bolt does it all the time. Continue reading “Dear Indie Author: Please Write as Fast (or Slow) as You Want”
Two years ago, my aunt sewed me a quilt by hand for Christmas. She made me promise to use it and not just display it, so on cold nights, I crawl under it and am warmed by thoughts of the many, many evenings she spent piecing it together, how she designed it especially for me with geometric patterns and materials in my favorite colors and subtle outlines of kittens and puppies that can only be seen if you’re close enough to wrap up in it.
In our circle of writers, we talk a lot about writing as a job that needs discipline and deadlines, and we judge our dedication by the number of words produced in a week. Commitments like these are necessary to keep moving ahead toward a goal (or an income), but I think it’s important to remember that writing is also art. Even though art can often be functional and beautifully mass-produced on a schedule, it also has an element of elusiveness. There are stories that flow naturally from your soul, come together on their own, and feel perfect exactly the way they hit the page–so much so that you wonder if someone else wrote them. But there are also stories that get rewritten and cut up and dropped on the floor, only to be recovered and reorganized and reset until they end up as close to your heart as a hand-stitched quilt. Continue reading “It Shouldn’t Be Taking This Long”