When I was a reporter facing a deadline, I had to learn to write well, accurately, and fast. I had to see the story in my head and do it.
As a fiction writer, I’ve kept that mode. That doesn’t mean I don’t research, edit and rewrite, and rewrite and edit. But often, I felt bad that could write so fast because aren’t all writers told it takes years and years if your project is going to be good. Of course, some of my projects did take years. But some didn’t and that made me feel like a hack. Writing was starting to feel like work, which it is, but it should also be damn fun and fulfilling or why the hell are we doing it?
Then at a conference, authors Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch spoke about how they write quickly. And they are successful writers. Indeed, they have great credentials.
To me this was one of those ah-ha moments that made me extremely happy.
It was okay that I wrote quickly. But writers still wrestle with this.
Recently on the Stage 32 network, of which I am a member, there was a long discussion about how long it takes to write a screenplay. The opinions were all over the place.
My only opinion: It takes as long as it takes.
Scott Fitzgerald wrote “The Great Gatsby,” considered to be one of the best American novels, over a summer and fall in 1924 with revisions the following year, when it was published, according to a University of Southern Carolina website.
It takes as long as it takes.
Weeks, months or years. No matter how long it takes, the thing we shouldn’t give up is telling a good, well written story.
Time is relative, after all.
Patricia Santos Marcantonio