In the past 21 months, I’ve completed four fantasy books (under my other name) of 155K, 135K, 136K, and 77K words, without working hard enough to stress me out. I finished Mr. Harding Proposes in the 30 days of Nano.

So, yes, I write fast, and I sometimes worry that fellow writers in the Facebook and Nano writing groups I belong to might get pissed at how fast I write. I know I get envious of some of the successful authors in my groups, so I can’t help but think that a younger writer who is excited about writing 1000 words might have their enthusiasm dampened by me writing 50,000, and I don’t want that. I want to celebrate my victories, yes, but I celebrate their victories, too. The important thing isn’t how much you write, as every writer is different, but that you write. So I thought I’d put down the reasons why I think my production is high and shouldn’t be compared to someone who doesn’t have these advantages.

  • I am retired. My time is my own.
  • I don’t have children or any family closer than two states away.
  • Due to the above, I can keep a schedule of writing, comfortably fitting in with my creative time of day. Six days a week, for 2-4 hours between lunch and dinner, I am writing.
  • My roommate – and best friend since 1969 – loves my stuff. She gets each scene as I write it, and she gets sulky if she doesn’t get to read that night because something happened to keep me away from the keyboard. Once she’s read a scene, she wants to talk about it and about my characters. This is priceless.
  • I have been writing for about 50 years. I have been writing steadily for about 40 years, by which I mean writing almost every day. Until I was 42 and decided to get in gear and get published, I wrote fanfic, meant for the enjoyment (and fantasies) of my roomie and myself. This adds up to a lot of experience, which keeps me from ever getting serious writer’s block or thinking “I can’t write”. Because I know I can. I’ve done it.
  • I am a voracious reader and movie watcher, so before I learned to outline, I formed plots to showcase the characters based on books and movies.It also gave me lots of experience on what works and what doesn’t, and why.
  • I have spent a lot of money and time studying the art of writing. I’ve subscribed to Writer’s Digest for about 30 years, and I have a whole bookshelf of writing-about-writing books, plus more on my Kindle. I don’t do this just to learn my craft, but also because I just like reading about writing. But I have learned a lot and from some excellent teachers.
  • I’m not a great writer, and I accept that. I call myself “a talented hack”. My writing isn’t poetic or pretty, but plain and ordinary. Symbolism, if there at all, is by accident. Because my language is simple and I accept that, I can write fast.
  • I love grammar (yeah, really), and I have a degree in English. So I don’t have to worry much about the grammar as I write.
  • I have a natural ability to concentrate. I can see my scenes as movies in my mind, and then I can just write them down, no matter what’s going on around me. Of course, now that I’m not writing at work, that’s less important, but still helpful.
  • I’ve done a lot of reading and research in the Regency period – in my non-writing time! – and I’ve organized a lot of notes, so I rarely have to slow down my writing to look something up.

So I have advantages that other writers, especially young writers and writers with full-time jobs, just don’t have. Not yet, anyway.

Since I retired only 3 years ago, you can do the math and see that I’ve done nearly all my writing while holding down full-time jobs. How did I do it? I can only say that I loved writing so much that I made the time to do it as often as possible, while neglecting things I didn’t like. Such as housecleaning. This isn’t something I would recommend to anyone…