The other day I heard some great writer expert counseling other few great writers on how to write faster.  Being only an amateur I am in no need (or mood) to write faster. Writing for me is a pleasure, and like most pleasures I am not wishing to rush it.* As I listen to the tips I realize I don’t do any of them.  “Write first and edit later” seems a sensible rule.  Alas, I do not follow it.  I write a sentence, I pause, I reread it, I rework it, and proceed.  After a paragraph forms this too is edited before I move on.  After a piece is done I put it down, return a later, and edit some more. Titivillus, that pesky demon of editors, is a frequent reader of my blog. After I publish I go back again to edit his shenanigans he’s inserted into my a well-written piece. I somehow manage to catch and correct all his mischiefff.

Another tip is making a skeleton outline for what I am about to write.  My scribblings resemble the free-association approach I picked up in Freudian-based analysis, hopefully with better results. Most of the time I don’t have a clue where this is going and I am often surprised what comes forth. It may not be great prose but there it is.  Like analysis, this process doesn’t happen quickly. There are a lot of pauses and on occasion blocks.**

As I free-associate while I write this it dawns on me my slowpoke writing style is done the opposite of how I tackle chores, projects, and work.  It makes sense as they are necessities and this is my hobby: There is no need to treat it like an item on the ‘there’s work to be done!” list.  Writing truly takes The Cheshire Cat approach: if you walk long enough you get somewhere. It may not be great prose but it is jolly good fun when it hangs together.

Spo-fans: when you write, do you

  1. Have an outline?

2. Write the entry in one sitting?

3. Edit as you go or afterwards?

4. Edit once or edit many times

*Thems who are professionals probably are under pressure from editors and publishers to ‘put out’ as it were and as soon as possible, so writing fast is important. My editors and publishers, the You-Know-Who, are not so inclined. Provided I post from time to time and it draws attention they are a coterie of contented Cnuts.

**Some might say not enough blocks.