slow writer

Subject: slow writer
From: "diotima" <diotima -at- myway -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2005 22:04:45 -0500 (EST)


i have been following the page count thread with interest. and in a few places i?ve seen the discussion getting rather close to a topic i've wanted to broach for quite some time. i get a little embarrassed to talk about this, but it does relate to the page count thread and a little voice inside me is saying, "it's now or never."

so, here goes. ahem.

i am a slow writer.

no really. i am slow. and i am a bit self-conscious about it. i'm not a newbie. i've been a tech writer (and/or editor, copyeditor, proofreader, english/esl teacher) for some 10 years or so. and even in school, from as far back as 3rd grade, not only did i always get A's on my papers, but quite a few times my teachers would ask me if they could keep a copy for themselves. two or three times a teacher has encouraged me to submit the paper for publication.

so the writing part is not a problem. but i am slow. when i read earlier the part in the thread about how long it took for someone to write "nine small paragraphs," my heart did a leap! could it be? could it be that some other writers are slow too? no, no one can be as slow as me!

i try to analyze this about myself. quality takes time. maybe i'm just this very thorough, plodding, systematic thinker with perfectionist tendencies. but i don't even know if that's always true or particularly illuminating.

i do know that the speed at which i write changes from beginning to the end of the project. i am my absolute slowest in the beginning. i feel almost overwhelmed with all the possibilities, all the demands. i crawl. i space out. i think. i consider. i plod along. but then, wonderfully, usually half way into it, it's like suddenly i can see it. i see how it's all going to come together, i see beyond my nose and all the way down the street. the text to come is so obvious, it simply falls out of what i've already written. i speed up dramatically. at this point, it's almost giddying. and usually by this time, because i've "wasted" so much time in the beginning, the deadline for what i'm writing is almost impossibly before me and i barely get it in under the wire. and when the praise comes, i think, gee whiz, it could have been even better if i'd had just one more day!

is there anybody out there that can relate to this? does anyone have any suggestions? commiseration? maybe you might think, "so what's the problem?" but i really do wish i could write faster right from the start. i've even developed a habit of understating the time i spend on a writing project. if i've spent 10 hours writing something that isn't finished yet, i'll say i've only spent 7 hours on it to help hide my slowness. it's my embarrassing little secret that i've managed to hide throughout my writing career.


(also a slow reader, when it?s important)

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