Slow Down, You Write Too Fast

Gail Gauthier
4 min readNov 30, 2021

It May Improve Your Work Output As Well As Your Quality of Life

Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

At my blog, Original Content, I’ve been discussing Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman. At one point, he writes about rushing, speed, and impatience. A major point in his book is that constantly structuring time for something that’s going to happen/be completed in the future has a negative impact on our present. He’s very much about quality of life.

I, on the other hand, have been interested in whether or not slowing down might actually make it possible for us to do more writing in our present. I want to do more with less effort and angst.

Some Speed Issues Unique To Writing

Writing isn’t the day job for many writers. We’re working writing around a regular income-producing job or family care or both. The desire to rush and get more done in whatever writing time we have is less about impatience and more about necessity.

In addition, two other situations encourage speed for writers.

Traditional Writers. Somewhere around the turn of the century, series became very popular in traditional writing, particularly in fantasy. I can’t speak so much to adult series, but for children’s and YA, many of these series were actually serials, meaning Book A didn’t have an ending, readers had to wait until Book B. Book B might not have an ending, either, you had to go on to Book C.

To keep readers, writers and publishers had to crank out the next book as quickly as possible. Everyone had to work fast. A book a year or even every year and a half or two years is pressure in the traditional publishing world.

Additionally, even a buzz-worthy book may not generate a lot of buyers, whether it’s part of a serial or a stand-alone. In children’s publishing, it’s not unusual for books not to make back their advances. So writers hoping to make a living or even just create and maintain some kind of career feel a need to rush the next project along.

Self-published Writers. In the past, at least, self-published writers often didn’t get large numbers of readers per book, since distribution was such a problem for them. To make up for that, they had to produce a larger number of books. Smallish number of readers per…

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Gail Gauthier

Author of essays, humor, & short stories, as well as 8 middle grade/YA novels. www.gailgauthier.com Tweets at @gail_gauthier