Hello! This is the latest in a series about common writing anxieties — because I want people to worry less and enjoy writing more! I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for a while, because it comes up a lot.

If you’re a writer, it’s easy to feel like everyone can write faster than you.

Your friend may have hit his 50,000 word goal on Nov. 20 during National Novel Writing Month, while you barely made it to 20,000 and gave up…just like you did the year before and the year before that.

In your Facebook writing group, you may know a writer who self-publishes a novel every six months…or every month.

You may come across the first draft of your work in progress…dated four years ago.

Things like this can make you ask yourself, “How can I write faster?” “How do I know if I’m creative?” “What if I’m not cut out for writing?”

Let’s look at this from a few different angles.

 

Writer Worries: Why Am I Such a Slow Writer? #how to write faster #how can I write faster #how long does it take to write a book

 

There are a lot of reasons why other people may write faster than you can.

They may have less complicated lives.

I used to always compare myself to people who didn’t have day jobs. That was lunacy. You can write a novel when you have a day job, but it does take longer!

If you have children at home, or you’re a caregiver, writing gets all the more difficult. Acknowledge the challenges you face. Give yourself a break.

They may have less complicated stories.

If someone else is writing contemporary romance and you’re writing science fiction or historical fiction, for instance, you’re spending a lot more time than they are on research and working out the details of your story’s setting.

They may be more experienced.

Some people who have written a lot of novels find that it gets easier and easier, which only makes sense.

Honestly? Some may be using ghostwriters.

Some people who approach self-publishing as a business use ghostwriters to crank out a lot of material. It’s good to know this so you don’t set unrealistic standards for yourself and get discouraged as a result.

Finally, keep in mind that it’s more typical to take a long time to write something. Naturally, the fast writers talk more about their pace than the slower writers do. That can give us the false impression that fast writing is the norm. It isn’t.

 

 

I’m a big believer in the saying “Comparison is the thief of joy.” In fact, comparison is poisonous to creativity.

You’re not competing with anyone. They can’t take your rewards from you.

 

There are probably ways you could write faster.

If you want to pick up the pace, I’d recommend trying any of the following:

Limit your TV, internet, or videogaming time.

If any of these are a time suck for you, limit it to an hour–or heck, two hours–a day. Set a timer. You can even use a website blocker to block the internet while you’re working.

Set goals and deadlines. 

Plan to finish a draft of a novel by the end of the year, or a draft of your short story by the end of the month.

Don’t rewrite so much.

There’s no point in making every sentence perfect early on in your story (or screenplay, or whatever). After you have a complete draft, you may change some of the material in the beginning, anyway.

Change your beliefs about your writing.

If you procrastinate a lot, you might also examine your subconscious attitudes and feelings toward your writing. If part of you is always thinking, “I’ll never be good enough,” “I’ll never get published,” or “this will never be worth the time,” you’re fighting yourself. Change those thoughts to, “I enjoy writing” and “time spent being creative is always time well-spent,” and you’ll have more success.

 

 

Celebrate your progress, no matter the pace.

As long as you’re learning and creating, you should feel good about that. You’re on your own path, and your own rewards are waiting for you.

 

Writer Worries: Why Am I Such a Slow Writer? #how to write faster #how can I write faster #how long does it take to write a book #how to write a novel in 30 days #in a month

 

Have you ever worried about writing too slowly, or are you a speed demon? Have you learned ways to write faster, or ways to get out of the mindset of comparing yourself to others? Let us know in the comments! Thanks for reading, and have a great week!