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Andale! Andale!

April 23, 2010
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Some writers are really fast. They can churn out content or finish up a story in no time. Exercises are completed in minutes and novels take years, not decades, to complete.

I am not one of these fast folk. I am slow, slow, slow. I’m Speedy Gonzalez’s drunken, sluggish cousin Slowpoke, and I haven’t even been drinking pulque. Not today, anyway…ok, so never. I’m not exactly eager to try it, either. Viscous? Pulpy? Looks like milk? That sounds thoroughly horrible to me, but I digress.

Sometimes I worry that I don’t get things done quickly enough due to laziness. I am indeed rather lazy, I admit it, but that’s not really the reason it takes me so long to complete a brief article or finish a single short story. It’s the perfectionist in me, the person who is pausing right now for several seconds to think of a clever turn of phrase that just isn’t coming. And pausing again, and staring…rereading, deleting, rephrasing, rewriting…yeah, that’s pretty much how I work.

I read works that have been published on some sites and I wonder how they ever got past the editors. There are errors in them, big, ugly glaring ones like throbbing whiteheads in the exact center of a teenager’s forehead. (pause, stare, reread, proceed) I could cut the time it takes me to finish a non-fiction piece in half if I cared less about good grammar, or finding that ideal turn of phrase or that perfect synonym. I don’t work that way. I am not speedy, but I’m also not slipshod. I’m not very prolific, but I tend to be pretty satisfied with the stories I do manage to complete.

(pause, stare, reread)

Also, I can’t write a short short. They’ve become really popular in the publishing world today. I guess this has to do with the fact that a lot of people are reading literature online these days, and a short byte is much easier to read off the computer screen than a novella is. I don’t particularly enjoy them, myself. Sure, they’re clever and sometimes well-written, but they don’t satisfy me. To me, reading short shorts is akin to eating potato chips. Reading a full-length short story or novel is like eating dinner. I’d rather have dinner, thanks, even though potato chips taste pretty good. If I don’t enjoy reading something, I’m going to hate writing it. So I don’t write them, even though I could probably churn out three or four 500 word shorts in a day. Instead, I take weeks to write a story that turns out to be too lengthy for most publications to even consider.

I just need to accept that this is the way I work, and that it isn’t necessarily a failing on my part. I might not work quickly. My stories might not be concise.  I’m not going to change the way I write for anyone else, though. It might take me longer to get to the gleaming golden peak of Success and Adulation (that exists, right?), but I’ll get there, dammit. Slowpoke style.

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