Whether we officially “won” NaNoWriMo or not, most of us who participated probably racked up higher than normal daily word counts. And building on my previous NaNo wrap-up post, that success can carry over into other areas of our writing life.
Author Roni Loren and I have talked several times about our “slow” writing style. How we never truly turn off our internal editor—even during word sprints or fast drafting.
Slow writers often despair when we hear about authors releasing two, three, or even four books a year. We’d never be able to do that.
Training Ourselves to Write More
What’s a slow writer to do? Roni had a great blog post last month about how she learned to “train up” and fit more writing into a shorter time frame. Because of that training, she was able to complete multiple books this year.
That training isn’t necessarily about writing more words per hour, although word sprint techniques can certainly help. Instead, that training can be about using our time more effectively, so we have more writing time in a day than we thought. Or it can be about pushing ourselves to get more writing in before our brain or our muse gives out. Or it can be about limiting that internal editor to chime in only on today’s writing.
Slow Writers Are the Tortoise
In my NaNo Check-In at the halfway point, I compared writing to the Aesop fable, The Tortoise and the Hare. Some of us are the slow-writing tortoise and some of us are the fast-writing hare. As long as we all reach our personal finish line, there’s no wrong answer.
My NaNo stats could never look like these of one of my hare-like NaNo Writing Buddies (name withheld to protect their fuzzy tail):
I didn’t have any word sprint counts of 1500-2500 words an hour (like many of my friends), and I didn’t have any 10-15K writing days (like some of my other friends). Instead, I simply showed up every day and added words, slow and steady like the tortoise:
Again, there’s no right or wrong answer. We have to know ourselves and how we write best. The point is that slow writers—as long as we’re writing consistently—can get things done just as well as fast writers.
Are Slow Writers Able to Write Multiple Books a Year?
So this brings us back to the multiple books a year question. We’ve heard that one key to success in publishing is creating a backlist. A backlist sounds great in theory—more books to sell! But if it takes us a year to complete each book, it’ll be a decade before we see that backlist in action.
For a long time, “a year” is what I figured I’d need to write a book. The fastest I’d ever completed a first draft was three months. And I thought that was “pushing” myself. But my NaNo approach of writing every day forced me to accept that no, I really hadn’t been pushing myself before.
So now I know. Now I know that I can cut that three-months-to-a-first-draft time in half, which opens up more possibilities for publishing. I still don’t think I’ll ever be one of these four-full-length-novels-a-year writers. But two is certainly doable. Maybe even three novels, or two novels and a novella or two.
Now I know that the number of books I could complete in a year is more determined by my need for family and home life balance than by my drafting speed. I was able to keep up with most of my normal home life during NaNo, but I did stay up past midnight more often than I’d like.
Now I know that I’m in control of that multiple-books-a-year side of the publishing equation, and that I’m not constrained by being a “slow” writer. This is a good thing to know. *smile*
Are you a “slow” writer? Are you more successful writing hare-style or tortoise-style? Have you worried about how you’d write multiple books a year or be able to build up a backlist? Do you have other “slow writer” tips to share?Pin It