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Writing Slow: What Went Wrong?

Writing Slow: What Went Wrong? by Jill Kemerer

Last week I finished writing the first draft of a new book. It took a week longer than usual for me to finish the draft. Getting started each day was a struggle. It usually is. This time, though, it was also hard for me to stay writing once I’d gotten started.

Basically, I was writing slow.

Writing slow is not the same as being deliberate. Some writers naturally write slow–it’s their process. However, I write a hefty chunk every weekday when I’m drafting a novel, and when I’m writing slow, it typically means something is wrong.

Writing Slow: What Went Wrong?

  • Not knowing the plot as well as I should have.
  • Having a general sense that the hero’s internal conflict wasn’t quite right but not knowing how to fix it.
  • Too many subplots for a short book.
  • Focusing on scene details unimportant to the plot.
  • Trying to include the characters from the other books in the series in a way that wasn’t overwhelming to the reader.
  • Realizing 3/4 of the way through the book, I’d researched a main plot point incorrectly and had to adjust the story accordingly.
  • A general ho-hum feeling about life (winter blues?) that affected my writing.
  • Appointments and errands that ate into my writing time, making the process choppier than it needed to be.

Sometimes my favorite books end up being the most challenging. I don’t know if this will be one of them or not, but I know the book is good. Writing fast or slow doesn’t seem to affect the final product. It’s just getting to the final product…

What works best for me when drafting a novel is being crystal clear on the plot progression. I also map out 2-3 scenes each day in advance of the next writing session. I skipped this step several times, because I simply couldn’t think of what came next–even though I had bullet points showing me what needed to happen!

Honestly, I think the main thing that went wrong was my attitude. Writing felt like a chore. Thinking of the next scenes felt like torture. And sitting down to write seemed to wipe my brain clear of any thoughts. It was ugly!

I’m actually looking forward to revising the book. That’s where I see what I missed. I “get” the book after I pass through it for a content edit. And by the final polish, it will be a story I’m proud of.

Writing isn’t easy. And writing slow–for me–is torture. I’m thankful to have typed The End!

What works better for you? Writing fast? Or Writing Slow?

Have a terrific day!

Jill Kemerer is a Publishers Weekly bestselling author of heartwarming, emotional, small-town romance novels often featuring cowboys. She hopes to encourage readers through her books the way so many books have encouraged her. Jill's essentials include coffee, caramels, a stack of books, her mini-doxie, and long walks outdoors. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two almost-grown children. For more information, visit her website, jillkemerer.com.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Girl, I feel you on this! For some reason I’m struggling to get my word count each week, but I just keep plugging along telling myself that being short on words is better than no words at all. Hugs!

  2. I entered the Love Inspired Author Search that is going on now. If the editor likes my first chapter, they’ll ask for the Full, which will be due August 1st. Totally doable. But. I have a scene list and the plot, but I don’t seem as excited as I was when I entered.
    The points you listed above are spot on to what I’m feeling.

    Oh, I’m normally a slow writer anyway, except now it’s like I’m in sloth mode.

    1. I’m so excited for you, Marcie!! The Love Inspired author contests are a great way to get noticed.
      I get you on the “letdown” portion effect after entering. We can’t keep our enthusiasm levels sky-high all the time. There are many days when I have to force myself to write–but when I do, I love it. Sometimes I just get through it… Haha!
      Take a few days. Then get back into it–you’ll find the enthusiasm again!

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