Help! I'm a slow writer

It’s not that I get distracted, or that I type slowly. I simply can’t churn out 50 words per minute like some people do. I stop at every period, re-read, write one sentence, re-write, re-write it again, decide to delete it because I didn’t manage to express the idea the way I wanted. Sometimes I simply give up when I realize how much time it will take to polish the text enough, usually forum posts, but I’ve done this to blog posts or even longer documents.

Have any of you had this kind of problem, and how did/would you solve it?

Not that I don’t make mistakes, I make plenty. But I do have perfectionist tendencies. I also re-write, re-write, re-write, re-write …
It’s the secret according to a college English professor I had once.
But I did get a lot of "A"s.

For something lengthy/complex I do an awful lot of thinking first, then I make a rough outline of everything I want to include in the flow order I think best. Then I fill in the information. Then read, edit, read, edit … until either I’m satisfied or out of time.

Then I hit “Publish” and hope for the best.

Then I read my finished work one last time (before hitting “Edit” to polish it up a bit more :wink: ).

Hey Ruby,

My advice to you is to sit back, and don’t write something the moment you think of it. Write the idea down on paper so you don’t forget it, but just don’t post about it. You need time to develop it in your head and think of all the possible avenues it could go.

Once you have had time to think about it, it will develop and be much easier to write about when you do decide to post it.

Like Mitteneague said, make an outline so you don’t miss what you wanted to say, and just give it time to develop. You shouldn’t rush a good article.

Writing takes practice, but over time you’ll will develop habits in your writing style. Don’t go hitting the delete button. Instead, save the document, and come back and look at it later if you are feeling frustrated now. But above all, keep writing. You’ll get better over time.

First of all, I don’t think “churning out 50 words a minute” makes someone a good writer. It makes them a fair to middling typist. So it looks to me like you aren’t a slow writer, but a thoughtful one.

A lot of the time, I put my thoughts down in bullets. Sort of like an outline, but not organized like one.

Then I arrange them in what I think is the order of importance.

Then I start to develop each of them into paragraphs. When I’m finished with one or I stall out, I look over my list for what might come next.

Pretty soon my ideas will start to gel and I’ll work to the end of the piece. Then I’ll look to see if there is anything important in my list I forgot to include and look for the place to include it.

Then I read through the piece and see if my thoughts flow on paper the way I hoped they would. Sometimes the bottom paragraph moves to top or the top to bottom or middle paragraphs become endings or beginnings. When I’m satisfied with the piece, I spell check and grammar check. Then I walk away from it for ten to fifteen minutes (overnight, if I don’t have a deadline). When I go back to it, I read through and fine-tune. Finally, I put it through the spell and grammar checkers one more time.

It might take me two hours to be satisfied with a 250 word piece, but I know when I’m done that I’m delivering my best.

Sometimes I use a type of “brainstorming” system to get going on a difficult topic. I wrote an article about it called “When the Muse Develops Laryngitis”.

You can practice your typing speed and accuracy using TypingMaster. :smiley:

Unfortunately writing for money is not the same as writing for pleasure. I think it’s best to decide what your goal is. Are you looking to take you time and provide content that is very high quality and for which your website visitors don’t mind waiting around for. Alternatively if you are appealing to a mass market then it’s all about speed but also maintaining quality. Try to adopt a how to appraoch, this will help you structure your work better and follow a more logical process which is often quicker to produce

I know typing fast isn’t a perquisite for being a good writer, but as they say, practice does make perfect. I think that, writing more, I will have more not-so-good stuff out there, but probably a few more gems, too. Hopefully, given time, the gem/crud ratio will increase enough to make it feasible for me to make money writing.

Planning a little ahead is something I’ll definitely try. I tend to start without a plan, and then get stuck at the first snag. Now that you mentioned it, I realize that, with a rough outline, it’s easier to skip ahead, write another portion first, then go back and restart with a fresh perspective.

“Practice does make perfect”
“Experience is the best knowledge”
“Sciencia potencia est” - “Knowledge is power”

Relax and Don’t panic. Have enough rest before you start writing and Keep on reading different resources. You’ll able to make it.

I know that if you’re a slow writer, it can really make you frustrated more often that not.

But I believe that the content of your writing is more important than the time you write it.

When I write, I free my mind from other things that will make me lose focus and
I am also for the saying that “Practice makes perfect.” :slight_smile:

When you are fearing of mistakes. These problems may occur. The good idea is to type on a rough document, keep doing the mistake, but do not edit or remove/correct the mistake. Keep on typing thinking You have done it but You are going to avoid it. They more you will practise it on the rough document, the higher there are chances you will do less mistakes.

Try the following phrase on your keyboard and hope this will let your fingers move all corners of the keyboard perfectly.

“A Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over The Lazy Dog”

Try this phrase couple of times in a day. When you will get it typed fast and with less mistake, there are sure chances, you would not type wrong in either the emails, or any other posts.

A writer I look up to once said that you write the first draft of your piece with your heart. meaning you just write and let the words flow out of your fingertips not minding the grammar, the punctuation and the spelling. Then when you’re done, you write it again, this time with your mind. You put everything in its right place, correct the errors and edit edit edit.

My usual problem is that I run out of things to say too soon.

Well said! – Except, what’s too soon? Concise is always good. My problem is that I’m too often wordy.

It is a matter of time, every article you write, actually you’re adding more experience and improving your skills

The problem you’re having is that you don’t really know what a draft is. You’re trying to write the final draft when you should be writing the first draft.

The first draft is where you vomit all your raw thoughts onto the screen or paper. Don’t worry about making sense, being coherent, or sounding nice. This, my college lit professor assured me, is technically called the “<snip> first draft.”

Then you appraise what you’ve written, and you arrange it into a structure that really drives your overall intention for the piece home – trying to arrange it before the shitty first draft is useless, because even YOU don’t quite know what you want to say until all your thoughts are on the screen. This is the second draft.

Now, you polish – you maybe weave a unifying metaphor through the piece, or create clever turns of phrase. You make the language more vivid. By this point you have the perspective on the piece to know what really makes sense for the nitty, gritty details.

After that third draft comes the proof-read, maybe a sanity check by your wife, and then the publish button!

Are you a good talker? When I was pursueing my master’s I had to churn out a 50 page paper in 3 days (can you say procrastination). Not being a typer, I bought DragonSpeak’s software that transcribes what you say. I layed out notes, and spent the next 48 hours talking and reviewing. It took a while to get used to, but it was very effective.

I guess that largely depends on what you are writing about? If I have researched a topic properly…and did an outline… what normally happens is that I have too much to say lol.

I know what you mean.

Sounds good. How much did that cost you?

I think writing (I’m not that brilliant :rolleyes:) is like designing a logo for example. You start of with an idea, you then put it onto paper and expaned with other rough ideas. Refine them till you have run out. At this point you will now have the best idea you can think of and now make that rough idea to a neat one.

Don’t worry about time, it’s quailty that counts and the better, the better the read.

First:
Write down your thoughts the way it comes. Write as if nobody is going to read it. But write the way you think and let it flow.

Then:
Assume yourself to be someone else reading it. Read a sentence or para…and analyze.

Analysis will have two aspects:
1.To make sure if your idea/thought is presented the way it is.
2. To make sure if the english language/grammar is correct. Wrong grammar makes a sentence with a different meaning.

For example:

1.A few people here use pen(It means a few people use it).

2.Few people here use pen (It means no one uses it).