Tuesday, April 23, 2013


December 23, 2009, I posted the following in response to Jason Sanford's blog post "How long to write that short story?"
Speed of writing can be, to some extent, related of years of experience. I started writing professionally 35+ years ago (as a teenager). Back then my first drafts were sloppy, ill-conceived, and filled with spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors. And I wrote on a typewriter. 
What happened? After years of pounding the keyboard, I learned how to plot and write dialog. I also improved my knowledge of spelling, punctuation, and grammar. And I write on a computer. 
So, after 35+ years, 800+ short stories, a few novels, and a fair bit of other writing, I can produce a publishable short story in far less time than I could way back then. 
It might be interesting to compare your speed of writing today--at whatever stage your career has reached--to your speed of writing when you started. Are you faster now than you were then?
Three-plus years later I ask myself the same question. Am I faster now than I was then?

No, not in the amount of time it takes to write a story. On the other hand, many more of my stories sell on the first or second submission than they did then, which means my ability to write what editors want to publish continues to improve and, therefore, far fewer of my new manuscripts disappear unsold into the filing cabinet.

So, even though I don't seem to be writing faster, I am more productive.

How about you? Are you faster (or more productive) now than you were three years ago?


Brian Drake said...

Yes, I am faster than I used to be, because now I outline extensively where I used to just make it up as I went. That led to a lot of stopping to figure our what happens next. And a lot of rewriting to make all the dots connect. Now, with the outline, I can blast straight through in a couple of days for a short story or a few weeks for a novel.

Michael Bracken said...

When I outline short stories--and I don't often--they are usually simple--a few words or a sentence for each key scene--and even then I may not outline until after I've written the first scene or two.