Speed Writing

Speed reading—that I do, especially if the book is fiction. Between writing and some side teaching, I could read a book in one sitting. It takes me a longer time to read non-fiction though. I go back to passages I like, highlighting and reflecting on them.

But speed writing? I am not in the fast lane.
The shortest time it took me to write a book was four months. Only because Present! was for millennials and was meant to be short.

Why can’t I speed write?

I let concepts swim in my head for sometime. I conduct a focus group discussion (FGD) with target readers. Then when I finally assault my keyboard, I pause now and then to chew over them, reading my Bible and references—checking facts and grammar rules—and reviewing books already written about the topic.

After finishing the first draft, I tweak it maybe a hundred times. Then I throw the hard copy inside a drawer to hibernate for at least a week while I tackle other books. When I return to it, I find all the “errors” that should have been clearer, fresher, and more interesting. I change words, rewrite sentences, and transpose paragraphs. I ask at least five of my target readers to read and comment on it.

On to more polishing. Only when I am happy with it do I send it to my editor. 

That’s why I was surprised when a friend posted on FB that he had just finished six chapters in one month! And he meant to finish the last six in another month! I asked him for tips on speed writing.

One was, “Learn to ride the proverbial inferior horse. Have a tolerance of what can be sent, not sloppy, but not polished to a high sheen . . . knowing that the publisher will edit it anyway. So why edit as you write?”

I pondered that.

Then I realized that after years of rigorous speed writing in advertising, I am now writing for the King and He allows me to enjoy the writing process, romancing it, relishing every step, and learning many new things along the way. I have chosen to take the slow lane. After all, deadlines are not tight. Where I came from, deadlines were: yesterday.

I had already overshot my quota for speed writing. Now, I slow down to savor the moment-by-moment grace of choosing words, stringing them, until the manuscript sings.

"Slow down. Take a deep breath. What's the hurry? Why wear yourself out? Just what are you after anyway? . . ." (Jeremiah 2:25 MSG)


Rita A. Gomez said...

Speed writing? I can only write as fast as words formulate in my mind. Thing is, I get inspiration when I'm walking and it is hard to make notes while walking.

Grace D. Chong said...

You and I have all the time in the world to write now. So it's okay to take it slow and easy, and enjoy every step. Happy writing!

Yay Padua-Olmedo said...

Are you kidding? You've almost overshot your quota for writing, yet you keep on going and going like that Eveready-powered rabbit---and amateur writers like me are dumbfounded. What gift the Lord has blessed you with!