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Don't Rush the Writing

One question I'm often asked is, "When is the next book coming out?" Well, that depends on the book. Writing is a job, and a lot of work goes into every project, even short stories. I don't rush the process, even when I have deadlines . . . which I often miss.

The process of writing a story is fun and messy and riddled with mistakes and changes. I may get halfway through a book and toss out the outline (like my contemporary WIP) because I feel the story needs to go in another direction in order to remain true to the characters. These are among the few reasons why I don't share details about my various works-in-progress until I get closer to a completion date.

I know a number of authors who whip out a new book every other month, some even every month. These are often shorter novels or novellas, and I marvel at how they manage to write, revise, and edit in such a short period of time. It works for them. Not so much for me.

Of course I've never written more than four books in a year, and even that's challenging for me while still managing the rest of my life. I love to write, but sitting at my computer seven days a week (I've done it too often) makes me batty.

I put a lot into my stories emotionally. It can be draining as much as it is exciting. I often stop to research something because the little details are important. And, sometimes life is messy and other things draw attention away from writing. When life does go topsy-turvey, I move projects off my plate to avoid becoming overwhelmed. I've spent most of my life piling on projects and responsibilities to the point where everything is about to topple over until I work like a mad woman. The result is usually exhaustion and dissatisfaction that I allowed things to get so out of control.

It's only been recently that I've stopped putting so much pressure on myself. It's not healthy, and it definitely isn't fun, which is why I've adopted the mantra, "Don't rush the writing."

Spend time with your story. Read it over and over again, even out loud, before sending it to your editor. Then, don't rush the editor. Sure, you can't wait another minute to get that book into the hands of your readers (I've been there, too), and you want the editing, revisions, and proofreading done in two weeks or less. Why? Loyal readers aren't going to stop buying your books simply because it came out in September instead of June. There are hundreds of other great books they can read in between. Even if you don't count the unedited and unprofessional books uploaded to retail sites on a regular basis, there are still thousands of books being published from the decent to the incredible, which gives readers plenty of options.

Don't rush the writing. I'm telling myself this right now as I type this post. I spent most of yesterday on one chapter—one chapter—which is very slow progress for me, but I had to stick with it until the extended scene felt natural. I didn't push through it as I normally would have, and I ended the day more at ease because I'd done right by my characters.

As authors, it's okay to give ourselves permission not to rush our writing. It's okay to spend a full day on one scene when we're used to pounding through multiple chapters. We're allowed to relax, read a lot of books, go outside and enjoy nature, escape the confines of an office and unshackle ourselves from the computer.

Of course, this is just one author's opinion.


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Award-winning author MK McClintock writes historical romantic fiction about courageous and honorable men and strong women who appreciate chivalry, like those in her Montana Gallagher, British Agent, and Crooked Creek series. She enjoys a quiet life in the northern Rocky Mountains. 

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