The Insecure Writer’s Support Group ~ No#54

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time.


The awesome co-hosts for the June 1 posting of the IWSG will be Murees Dupe, Alexia Chamberlynn, Chemist Ken, and Heather Gardner! Don’t forget to visit them and thank them for co-hosting!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG.

You can sign up for our newsletter:

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How fast or slow do you write?

Writing Speed?I know they say that ‘slow and steady wins the race’ but I don’t think any writer wants to be a snail for the rest of her life. I always remind myself that if I approach each word, sentence and paragraph with love and attention, that means less writing but makes for a better draft? Am I correct? Sometimes there’s a short circuit when I need to get ideas down onto paper. Or maybe they aren’t such great ideas after all, and on some level my mind recognizes this fact and so the words refuse to be written?

Writing is a slow process. I always think that I’m falling behind. I should be moving along much faster. But it’s not happening. This instant gratification society we live in doesn’t help. Everything you want and need is at your fingertips, just a click away, via every imaginable App. I always tell myself that I don’t subscribe to the instant gratification lifestyle, anyway. I have all the patience in the world. That should work in my favor, agreed? The fact is that it might take a long time to write a book, and that we often can’t predict how much time the work will take. Authors quit, start again, destroy, create, and sometimes abandon. It requires deliberate practice. Each story is unique and must be given its time and space to develop.

Now if I just remind myself of these facts, I’ll be okay.

Are you slow/quick when it comes to drafting/writing? How long did it take you to complete your first novel/novella? What was the time frame from inception to first draft, and then from first draft to final manuscript?

Happy IWSG Day! I’ll be doing my rounds over the next few days.


  1. Hilary on June 1, 2016 at 7:34 am

    Hi Michelle – I’ve no idea … but definitely keeping going, moving on, trying new things, exploring one’s way forward and not getting stuck on the rails … good luck to one and all as you and I all move forward – cheers Hilary

  2. Pat Garcia on June 1, 2016 at 9:55 am

    I love your post because it is so true. Instant gratification is spoiling our world. As for my own writing, I am still working on my first manuscript. I’ve been writing it since 2009, but to be honest with you, it doesn’t seem that long. It seems like yesterday.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

  3. Elizabeth Hein on June 1, 2016 at 10:00 am

    I am a fairly slow writer. My first book took eight years from idea to publication. My next two took two years a piece. Now, I’m trying to release one book every 18 months. Time will tell if I can actually do that. Quality has to supersede quantity.

  4. Angeline on June 1, 2016 at 11:17 am

    I totally feel your pain! I see a lot of writers who are churning out a book a month, and I don’t know how they do it! Now I’m working at about one book every six months, although, previous books have taken years from the initial idea to publication. I’m hoping I’ll get quicker as I go. But the bonus of writing slower is taking that much more care. My edits aren’t as cumbersome as they could be, and I hate editing, so that’s a positive.

  5. L. Diane Wolfe on June 1, 2016 at 11:42 am

    I used to be much faster, but that was when I had just my own work to focus on.

  6. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor on June 1, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    You make a really interesting point about our instant gratification culture. I write really slowly and my need for instant gratification isn’t being satisfied during the process. But as someone pointed out above, it should be about quality, not quantity.

  7. Alex J. Cavanaugh on June 1, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    I’m a really slow writer. Although it took me longer with my first book than the others. I just can’t crank out high word counts every day. But that’s all right.

  8. Crystal Collier on June 1, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    I’m slow, but that’s due to time constraints. You know, one of the best things I ever did for my writing was saying YES to a blogging opportunity where I was required to publish a piece of flash fiction once a month. It wasn’t too much, but it required me to get the whole story process going every single month. The whole symmetry of a story became much clearer to me–and that same symmetry applies to every story, long or short. I think writing with deadlines, even if they’re soft ones, helps a ton.

  9. Diane Burton on June 1, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    It’s so hard to say how long it takes. When I’m writing, I go fairly quick. I’ll have a lot of editing/revising to do, of course. Confucous’ message is right on target–don’t stop.

  10. joylene on June 1, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    I write fast, I think. But I do 20-30 drafts of each chapter before I’m satisfied. It’s taking me years to finish my current WIP. I think I’m on my 3rd year. See, it’s taking so long to finish that I’m not even sure how long I’ve been working on! Help!

  11. Stephanie Scott on June 1, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    I’m not super slow, but I’m not as fast as I want to be either. I get stuck going back over the same material to edit, even if I try not to. In Nanowrimo I do that too. I could finish 50k in 20 days not 30 if I didn’t go back and edit. But I also would have a much bigger mess to revise later. I tend to read a lot of tips on writing more efficiently, hoping something sticks!

    Goal, Set, Check! Setting SMART goals

  12. Madeline Mora-Summonte on June 1, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    Well, I have pet tortoises so you can bet I’m all for “slow and steady” wins the race. Bet you can guess what kind of writer I am…. 🙂

  13. Michelle on June 1, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    I’m a pretty slow writer in general–I’ve just had to face up to it. I’m not fast. But the draft I’m working on now is the cleanest first draft I’ve had, so far, so that’s the best part for me–I don’t want to have a super quickly written but extremely messy draft on my hands.

  14. Ryan Carty on June 1, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    The only way I was able to complete a draft was to push through during a NaNo November a few years back. Still, I didn’t write like the wind, usually composing around 1600 words a day. I had to stop myself from editing too much, changing too much as I went, or I knew I’d talk myself out of finishing out of frustration.

    When I finally started writing a draft, it took me two months to finish my first novel (80,000 words), but the idea was years old and the failed attempts were far too many to admit. From inception to a completed draft was four years. Sigh, so long.

  15. Cherie Reich on June 1, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    I’m typically a fairly fast writer, but I’m a slow editor. We all have our different speeds when it comes to writing, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

  16. Kathleen Valentine on June 1, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    I am a slower writer because I do so much research. I don’t think it matters whether you go fast or slow as long as you are consistent.

    @Kathleen01930 Blog

  17. Shelly on June 1, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    I totally forgot to put my ISWG post together. Anyway, i’m a slug-writer.

  18. Patricia Lynne on June 2, 2016 at 12:04 am

    I can be a fast writer, but when it comes to editing, I always stall. I reach a point where I need outside opinions, and more often then not, that’s where it falls apart for me. =(

  19. Anna on June 2, 2016 at 1:42 am

    So slow sometimes I feel stopped. I’m too picky trying words on for size and seeing how they fit. I don’t really tweak until I’m revising which is lucky. I’ve spent hours on one paragraph.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  20. Southpaw HR Sinclair on June 2, 2016 at 2:04 am

    I’m pretty slow at each step. I do hope/plan/will get faster, but it’s slow getting faster!

  21. Tyrean Martinson on June 2, 2016 at 3:00 am

    For me, the speed really depends on the time and the day .If I time myself for a speed-write, I usually get a lot of words on the page. However, it’s not always good. On the best days the speed-write just gets me warmed up and when the timer goes off, I just keep writing at a slower pace. I have fast draft days and slow ones. The reason I have projects come out all at once is that I store them up for a while before doing anything with them. Every long project that’s come up in the last two years has been brewing for 2-9 years. It just looks like I’ve been fast lately. Now, most of my long projects are finished (except a few non-fiction things that need copy-editing and a novel that I’m not sure I’m ready to re-write and a 30,000 word start on another old project from five years ago that I’m not sure I’m ready to face either). It may take me a while from here and that’s scaring me a bit. I want to revisit those old projects because it could get me something out “there” in a faster time frame, but at the same time, both of those projects are so close to my heart and insecurities that I’m terrified of them. So, I’ve been playing with other projects and trying to make up my mind.

  22. Denise Covey on June 2, 2016 at 3:18 am

    Hi Michelle. I find I’m becoming faster the more I write. Some best-selling authors can churn out a book in less than a year–I know someone who only takes 8 weeks to write a novel, but she does all the research, planning etc first, so when she sits down to write it’s the easy part. I find I stop to research all the time, which is fun, but it slows me down.

    I hope your projects are going well. Did you get your ‘Thing that Turned Me’ finished?

    Denise 🙂

  23. Gwynn Rogers on June 2, 2016 at 3:36 am

    I’m a relatively new writer. Actually, I never had grand plans about writing, but I felt that I should write about my brother’s life, except our lives were so vastly different that I don’t have all the material I need. I LOVE your post, as I am a slow writer, but AM I a writer? I love creativity, but I started writing as a form of catharsis. I do love short stories. Also, now that I’m a caregiver for my husband maybe I can craft a book from this year’s A to Z Blogger’s Challenge. Except I’m still busy caring for my husband and becoming a split personality in the process… I never know which direction I’m going.

    Thanks for your words of wisdom and for leaving the website for the ISWG. I signed up for the newsletter.

  24. Shannon Lawrence on June 2, 2016 at 4:20 am

    I tend to write quickly, because by the time I sit down to write, it’s been brewing in my head for a period of time and is just racing to get out. I’m a sprint writer, so I don’t necessarily write every day, but I think about it all the time.

  25. Nicola on June 2, 2016 at 8:45 am

    I must say it all depends on my mood and whether or not my brain is functioning. Generally I write fast but, like Joylene, it takes ages for me to be closely satisfied with a piece. Great post!!

  26. Leandra Wallace on June 2, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    The fastest I’ve ever written a book was in 3 mos. The longest, 4 years! Just depends. But I do put pressure on myself to go quicker, as I’m more on the slow spectrum. But all things do happen in their time! =)

  27. Sara C. Snider on June 2, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    I’ve always felt like I write really slowly, and compared to some, I probably am really slow. But I’ve gotten a lot faster from a few years ago, so who knows how things will look in a few more. 🙂

  28. Meka James on June 2, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    I am a slow writer. Very slow. I often marvel at authors I see putting out several books a year, or heck even one book a year. I think something’s wrong with me and that just feeds into my already negative thoughts about my writing in general. It’s a vicious circle. I stop, I think, I over analyze no matter how much I tell myself to just get the story out and edit later, I can never seem to do it. Heck, I even attempted that Camp NaNo recently in the hopes it would get me writing. It did, but I still couldn’t just write. Every sentence, every paragraph I stopped and thought about instead of just moving on. Maybe one day I’ll get there. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Elizabeth Alsobrooks on June 2, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    If I had a dollar for every author who felt like that I could retire to my villa in the south of France and take as long as I wanted on this tortoise Book 2 in my series! Hang in there kindred spirit! We will finish this race and as fable tells it win!

  30. J.L. Campbell on June 3, 2016 at 12:58 am

    We all have to go at our own pace and how we work best. For me, some stories are slow going and most of them are a gift that flow from my fingertips once I start writing.

  31. Anne on June 3, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    I agree it takes a long time to finish a novel. I keep thinking of Harper Lee who wrote one novel her whole life (and then the second one which they say was a *draft* of her first.) I started writing my first novel when I was ten and – seriously – I’ll let you know when it’s done. I’ve done other things but this one keeps creeping back in different incarnations.
    I like what you said about the click and point generation because that’s what I keep telling myself. Be patient. Lately I’ve been seriously frustrated because that same old novel is creeping into my five or so vastly different speculative fiction works in progress. And I keep thinking – no – I’m still not ready to write this one – but I still want to keep trying like Sisyphus pushing on that same boulder. Definitely something to think about. If I ever finish that first novel =D I’ll let you know. At this point, it’s looking like about ten or so books are going to come out of it. =D I am seriously frustrated by that.
    Blessed Be! Anne

  32. Loni Townsend on June 3, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    If I have time, I can bust out writing pretty quickly. The problem is finding a balance between work and family. Oi! Yes, I don’t want to be a turtle the rest of my life.

  33. Lynda Dietz on June 4, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    I’m always amazed at some authors taking years on a book, and others producing more than one book per year . . . and each can be of terrific quality. I think the important thing for the slower writers to remember really is that it’s not a race, and that they shouldn’t get discouraged if their book is taking longer to produce. Life intrudes far too often on the things we love to do, and that’s just the way it is. Just keep on doing what you love, and eventually everyone else will get to see why you love it so much.

  34. Yolanda Renee on June 6, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    Instant gratification is the thing today, isn’t it. I love taking my time reading a great story, getting lost in the descriptive. But today, folks hate all that, they want to crux of the story and to get to the finish ASAP. The first criticism out of the mouth of a ‘friend’ for my first book was about the setting and all the description. So when I wrote book 2 I left it all out. It was the first thing my editor noticed. “This reads like a movie – where’s the description.” So hopefully, I’ve found the right balance. My editor loved the first book, but readers were asking for something different, at least some of them were. Another lesson learned.
    I’m a slow writer, the answers to my plot dilemma’s don’t always appear right away and I also have a bad habit of working on several projects at once. I wrote the first novel over a period of five years and book 2 and 3 in four months. But it took 4 years to get them all published and those first drafts went through many, many incarnations. Great discussion!

  35. Mina B. on June 6, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    I’ve written books very fast and some extremely slow. It’s so challenging to figure out why writing sometimes moves so easily and other times is slow-going. I have no idea, but I share this challenge lately with the slow writing. I just have to keep telling myself to keep the faith.

  36. Carol Kilgore on June 6, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    I’m definitely a turtle in the writing race. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a speedy rabbit, but I definitely aspire to write faster. Not sure it will ever happen. Sigh.

  37. C. Lee McKenzie on June 6, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    I’m not into fast writing. I find that if I put the story down on “paper” and then revisit it at leisure, I can get a better handle on character motivation and deepen the story. I think it’s great that some people can crank out book after book quickly. I’m just not among them.

  38. Lori L. MacLaughlin on June 8, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    I had to laugh when I read your question at the end. It took me nearly 30 years, from inception to final draft, to get my first book published. Is that slow or what? 🙂 But really it’s because I wrote as a hobby for many years. I didn’t start writing seriously for publication until 2014. At that time I had a many-times-revised draft. I self-published the book a year later, after a couple more rounds of professional editing. Even now that I’m writing as a career (hopefully), I still write slowly. I just can’t write fast.

  39. Murees Dupe on June 18, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    Hey Michelle. You are so right, that each writer is different and that every book takes a certain amount of time. My first book was written in three months. But, I kept tinkering away at it for 5 years after and never actually finishing it up. I only published it last year:) The second one is kicking my butt, as we speak. I also worry about not being able to write fast enough, but do you know what? Who cares? We are all different. Take the time you need. Remember, your first draft is just to get the book down. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Nobody will see it but you. The second draft is where you clean it up a bit. Do what works for you. Slow and steady isn’t a bad thing.

  40. J.H. Moncrieff on July 5, 2016 at 5:39 am

    I always feel like I write too slowly as well. I take too many breaks, and take WAY too long to rewrite.

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