How Fast Do You Write?

I’ve been hearing stories in the last year about people who “write a book” in lightning fast times. Three months. Two months. Two weeks. Ten days. Seven days. To which my reaction is always: ?!!??!!

From idea to drafting to revision(s) to completion, the time it takes me to write a book is more easily measured by a unit of years. And before I heard all these stories, I thought this was completely normal. After comparing my process to other writers’, however, I would feel badly. Like something was lacking in my ability as a writer.

My husband assures me that I’ll write faster with practice. Conventional wisdom advises me to write at my own pace. But then, I realized recently, maybe it’s not one or another. Maybe, like most things in writing, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

Over Labor Day weekend, my husband took the kids to his parents’, and I wrote 25,000 words in four days. For me, this was huge. Never had I written such a large amount of words in such a short time before. In addition to a completed rough draft, this “writer’s retreat” gave me something much more valuable – an inkling of how it feels to be one of these lightning-fast writers.

I still have months of hard work remaining before I transform these words into a polished manuscript. One weekend of intense writing isn’t going to change how I write. My pace is my pace. But now, I don’t feel so badly anymore. This weekend showed me that I do have the ability to put words on a page quickly – even if they aren’t the best words in the world.

So, I think the answer is neither to stick your head in the sand, nor is it to wish you could change the way you write. But rather, embrace your own process as a writer, while using other writers’ stories as motivation.

After all, I can’t help the “slow” part of my writing, but maybe I can control the “steady” part. Right?

How fast do you write? What’s the fastest you’ve ever written a book? The slowest? Have you ever compared your process to other writers? How do you deal with feelings of not measuring up?