I’m going to talk about finding your own pace today. And this applies to a lot more things than writing, in fact it can apply to just about any life situation. I have a number of author friends who write slower than I do. And I know some who write faster than I do. Inevitably, we end up in discussions about the pace of our work. And inevitably, somebody always says “I wish I could write as fast as you.”
Now, sometimes your pace will be disrupted by other activities — if you spend a lot of time goofing around, of course you won’t write as fast as I do. But sometimes your pace is dependent entirely on the natural flow of your work. In other words: you can only write as fast as you can write. Not everyone is cut out to write three books a year. I am trying to up my pace to four books a year, and I know I can do that if I eliminate some time wasting activities that really don’t bring me any benefit. And they aren’t time spent having fun either, so they’re not recharging me. No, I simply waste time without thinking about what I am doing. I can write at the pace that I do because it is my nature to do so. Not everybody can. Some people can write faster than I do. I’m not talking about churning it out like a hack either — I’m talking about actually getting words down on paper that tell a good story.
But if your natural pace is slower and you need more time to process what you’re writing, it doesn’t mean you’re slacking off. It doesn’t mean you aren’t a good writer, or that you aren’t a professional writer, and it doesn’t mean that you won’t ever write at a different pace. It simply means that at this time, you have found your natural rhythm and if you try to disrupt it, it may disrupt your writing.
We all have natural rhythms to our lives. How often we need to eat, how much sleep we need, how fast we can move, how quickly we read a book, how long it takes us to learn something — all of these things are subjective to our individual personalities and talents. You don’t sit there and berate somebody for needing more sleep than you do, so don’t berate yourself for needing more time to do certain tasks.
So remember: your natural pace may run slower and that’s okay. When we accept our own natural rhythms, when we learn to work within our limitations, then we will be more comfortable with ourselves. Sometimes you can exceed your limitations and there’s nothing wrong with trying, but if you find that you need the extra time to do something right, then take the time. Because keeping up with your neighbor, the author next door, the athlete next door, all of this distracts from the focus on making your own work the best you can make it. Be proud of your achievements even if they take a little longer. Nobody can take away your personal successes, so stop comparing yourself and focus on the joy of your own work.