Tranquil or troubled: Keep a steady writing pace


There is a lot to be said about keeping pace as a writer. Online news writers will tell you that the pace of the modern journalist is beyond hectic. When news breaks, writers sometimes have just minutes to write and publish a story. Public relations folks write tight on a deadline, too.


(Flickr: Darren Johnson)

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And while most would agree that a writer’s pace is often dependent on the genre, the fact is that many industry folks will admit to a broad spectrum of writing styles and strides.

Renowned author Dean Koontz notes on his website: “On good days, I might wind up with five or six pages of finished work; on bad days, a third of a page. Even five or six is not a high rate of production for a 10- or 11-hour day, but there are more good days than bad.”

And former New York Times editor Jill Abramson is making waves in the writing world with her advocacy of “slowing writing” — encouraging journalists to slow down and settle into solid writing as a way of reinvigorating a tattered industry.

What is the best writing pace for you? Slow and measured? Or quick and speedy? How does it impact your production? And what can you do to stay on track?

Pace pitfalls

–Set daily word counts for yourself. Make them manageable so that you will feel that you have accomplished something each day.

–Step outside and live on those days when you are not able to meet the word count. Writers need to experience life in order to write about it.

–Set aside distractions. Put away your smart phone, close out Facebook and avoid mundane house chores. Stay focused and driven as a way of maintaining a productive writing pace.

–Speed it up if you find that you have become mired on a single page for more than a day or two.

–Steer clear of editing as you write. This is a tough one. But, if you ignore your inner critic and just write, then the words will have more of an opportunity to flow from you.

Whatever your desired pace — calm and tranquil or swift and hasty — forgive yourself when you are not able to achieve your writing goals and move on to the next day. It will keep you on the right path to writing success.

Kerri S. Mabee is managing editor at EducatedWriter.com and founder of Breeze Media & Communications. Learn more about her at kerrismabee.com.


Kerri S. Mabee

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