I Do It My Way

writer at deskI try to write the best books I possibly can, and with my limited free time to devote to writing, it should be no surprise that it takes me a while to finish even a first draft. Once that’s done, the revisions and rewrites begin before I allow beta readers to see it. This flies in the face of some of the advice to indie authors these days that you should be putting out several books a year. It simply can’t be done, or at least not done well. I take writing very seriously, and rather than toss out a sloppily written novel I try to put out the best product I can. Why should I expect anyone to pay money and spend time on anything less? I do aspire to be a better writer and I’m always looking to improve.

As a writer I love to discuss the craft of writing with other writers. To that end, I participated (briefly) in an online writer’s chat on Twitter the other day. It turned out to be more of a coffee klatsch than writing talk. Questions were things like “What’s the best review you’ve ever received?” Being at work while the chat was going I was only able to participate in the first question which was “Where are you in your writing process?” Most of the rest of the participants (not all) mentioned several projects that are in various stages of writing or revision. I answered that I’m working on the sequel to my first novel. I do have other stories started, but I’m focusing most of my time on the sequel. The moderator (who has apparently heard me discussing this before) said, “Still? How long have you been working on that?” I replied that if I didn’t have a day-job, it might go faster. The mod does not have a day-job. Yes, it’s taking me a while, and I’m sorry for that to those of you who are waiting for the sequel but I have to keep the day-job as I have bills to pay and I’m not a kept woman. Add in everything that needs to be done around the house on weekends and it leaves very little time to write.

That question rankled. It’s no wonder the market is flooded with poorly written books and indies have such a terrible reputation. People are cranking out multiple books a year, but how much time and attention are they giving to any of them? Could my own book have been better? Of course, and I wish I had the money to hire a professional editor to go over it. I may yet release a revised version, now that I’ve discovered ProWritingAid. I’m dying to run the whole book through it and make it better. I can already see things I’d like to change and tighten after using that program for just a couple weeks. I expect Revenants Within to be a much stronger book.

Before self-publishing became an option, it was the norm for a writer to take six months to write a book. Now, if you don’t publish six books a year, you’re pretty much told you’re slacking. I will never be able to write at that pace. If you can, godspeed. But don’t denigrate others who don’t.

And if you’re a slow writer like me, you’re not doing it wrong. You’re doing it at your own pace, which is exactly how you should.


13 thoughts on “I Do It My Way

    • D. D. Syrdal says:

      HAHAHAHA! *MWAH* 😉 I thought about that very book after I’d left the chat. This whole industry nonsense of cranking out multiple books a year is the cause of the glut of bad indie books. Very few people can write fast, and write well.


  1. Robin Diana Ashe says:

    Thank you! This needed to be said. The online writing atmosphere today seems more about NaNoWriMo, preparing for NaNoWriMo, how many words we write a day (not how many good words) and even how fast we read and how many books a year we read. How are we supposed to write six books a year and read a book every other day while reading all the blog posts about the top ten mistakes you’ve absolutely made in your novel and trying to keep up with what’s going on in self-publishing and the traditional publishing industry? And this is all without considering family and the day job. It seems to me to be a formula for sure writing burnout.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D. D. Syrdal says:

      Yes, burnout, frustration, anxiety. I can’t allow myself to be swept out with the tide anymore on what should or should not happen, and I hope others will not, either. Writing a book takes as long as it takes, and it will be different for each writer.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Robin Diana Ashe says:

        I’ve been thinking for some time that it’s time to shut out all those outside voices and just write, revise, repeat. Maybe that’s why I keep getting stuck on the new story. I keep thinking “I should do this because so-and-so said it, but then this other person said this . . .” It’s not like when I just sat down and wrote my first draft of Love Lies Bleeding. I can’t get that “writing is fun” spark back because I’m second-guessing myself before I even type “Chapter One.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • D. D. Syrdal says:

        I think that sounds great. If other people want to jump on the crazy train, more power to them. It just doesn’t fit the way I think or function. And most of those people aren’t selling large numbers of books anyway. None of it matters unless the books are written to start with.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. rosie49 says:

    “Quality, not quantity.” What is the big rush (if not to monetize the product as quickly as possible)? I realize we humans have only a short time on this planet but life to too short to read (or write) bad books. Keep on keeping on, D.D.!

    Liked by 1 person

    • D. D. Syrdal says:

      Thanks, Rosie! I’ve been told by more than one indie author that they’re not that concerned with grammar or spelling issues in their work, they just want “to get their stories out there.” Maybe I have delusions of grandeur but I’d like my work to be more than ephemera.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bunny Blumschaefter (@oddermoodski) says:

    IMO if they don’t care about anything but “getting their stories out there,” without concern for grammar or even spelling, why do they think anyone is going to care about reading them? Why a should a reader have to guess what the writer is trying to say? I personally have never read anything that was SO GREAT, it made me say, “oh the hell with grammar and spelling, I’m just glad s/he got this wonderful, brilliant, unproofread draft out there.” Likewise, I’ve never read anything that made me say “wow, that was great: I just wish s/he’d written it FASTER!!!”
    Take your time,friends; nobody’s chasing you!


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