When You Write Slow

Someone once told me that my books start out like an easy ramble through the woods and you don’t realize you’ve been sucked in until it’s too late.

tree on Mt Pilchuck

How long did it take this tree to get like this?

I liked that even though I spent an inordinate amount of time wondering if it was a nice way of saying I better work on pacing. Well, okay,  I still wonder that.

It takes me a while to write a book. I firmly believe that if I outlined in a traditional manner, I could publish books much faster. But that type of outlining has never worked for me. I prefer to amble along daydreaming the story.

On the positive side that means I usually don’t have a lot of revising to do at the end (unless my editor asks me the ONE question I never thought of that impacts the whole story…thanks, Susan Schreyer). It also means I’ve given characters plenty of time to show me who they are and how they fit in the landscape.

Mt Baring

Mountains – my favorite story landscape

But on the not-so-positive side, it means two things in particular for the story I’m writing now.

I’m working on the ending currently. And one of the characters finally decided it was time to tell me about family relationships. Really? You wait until NOW to tell me? Yes, okay, that makes sense as I think about it. Yes, okay, it ties perfectly to the theme of family angst in my stories. But still, NOW?

I started Sunshine On My Shoulders almost three years ago. At that time certain things were going on with the Sunshine mine in Wallace, Idaho. Now that I’m almost done, those things have changed so the story is now out of date. Some of the plot moments can be left because this is, after all, fiction. But as I revise, I’m going to have to bring several things up to date or the book will be ‘old’ before it’s ‘new’.

Does all that make me feel pressured to write faster? Not really. I enjoy the slow ramble through the woods. I love the process of the story unfolding in its own time.

I saw an article recently that questioned whether slow writers could survive in this day and age of everything delivered instantly and the vital need to stay in the public eye or be forgotten. I didn’t read the article. Why? Because the purpose of writing isn’t to quickly shove product into humanity’s hands. It’s to tell a story. And any story, in any writer’s hands, will reveal itself in its own time.

My stories just happen to be a bit shy.

taken by Art

There’s a story out there…

7 thoughts on “When You Write Slow

  1. I love your “ramble” when I walk into your stories! Its like this comforting last part of a long ride home. When you cross the border into your state or city or whatever is your border, where you feel like you are home. When you turn that last corner, where you know every stretch of the way, you sit down, and then snuggle up with a tea and a good story. The first pages are like when I drink the first sip of a really great tea that I wanted for a long time! I cant wait for this story!!! I know it sucks to wait, but there has always been a difference between quality and quantity. You know, like good wine 😉 And every time when I start any of your stories I stop after a couple sentences and just am so happy to hear your voice again, to come home…


  2. This made me think of Fahrenheit 451 at the end, but that could just be me. Hopefully, with brilliant blogs like this, that’s not the future we’ll live in. Best of luck with your book!


  3. Wow. I tell people all the time to stop being writerly, get out of the way and let the story tell itself. To listen to their characters and let them talk and tell the story. You wrapped that in a much more platable blanket-esque style. Thanks. Made my day to read this.


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