Why Writing Speed Doesn’t Equal Writing Quality


It took George R.R. Martin, the genius behind HBO’s hit show Game of Thrones, three years to write his first book. And the rest of his books have taken longer and longer after that. Part of the reason for the waiting game is the complexity of Martin’s characters and storyline, but also that he admittedly is a slow writer.

Steve Scott, on the other hand, is a super fast writer. He’s published more than 40 books in a few short years—many of them were written in a few weeks—and has made up to $40,000 in one month.

I know, I know, the comparison isn’t perfect. Because Martin does long, fiction and is far older and more successful than Scott. Scott does short, non-fiction and what some would say are mini-books, not novels.

My point of the comparison is that each of these writers is on the opposite end of book writing spectrum when it comes to how long it takes to publish. They both are successful authors, yet their time from start to publish date is completely different.

And I’m in the middle of these two. I’ve written three books in just under one year.

In basically every other field, people would say that the best in their field are the best because of what they’ve accomplished when considering the amount of time. Someone who wins a Nobel Peace Prize at age 20 would be more impressive than someone who wins one at age 80 (yet both extremely impressive).

Or if an all-star basketball player wins three NBA championships at age 25, it’s obvious he’s had a better career so far than another all-star player who has won three championships at age 33 (assuming their other stats are the same).

But for some reason when it comes to writing, the general public believes that the more work and longer it takes to write a book, the better. People believe that taking a longer time translates to more thought, focus, and effort into the book.

That thought is so weird to me and incorrect! It blows my mind that people think a book is automatically better if it took longer to write.

So I’m here to disprove that notion because it’s flat out silly when you take a closer look at it. Writing speed doesn’t equal writing quality, because it all depends on the specific details. Many times it’s the opposite, and faster writing actually means better writing.

Daily Time Spent Writing Varies

It makes no sense to me that good writing is slow writing. In other words, I don’t get the argument that authors who publish books every two years are automatically better than authors who publish books every two months.

Consider the paradox of this scenario below:

Fast Frank writes four hours a day at a rate of 1,000 words an hour and 4,000 words a day. He never misses a day of writing.

That means Frank writes 28,000 words each week—that’s a solid length for a non-fiction book in its own right. If he does this for 30 days, that’s 120,000 words in a month. This colossal word count could translate to three huge books or four to six decent sized books, all from one month of writing.

Slow Sam writes 1 hour a day and at a pace of 100 words an hour. And he skips three to four days a week of writing.

That means Sam writes around 350 words a week. After writing for 30 days, he’s at around 1,750 words. So it will take Slow Sam a year to get to 21,000 words. Remember, Fast Frank got to 21,000 words in the first six days of writing.

Assuming their writing is the same quality, if you follow the logic that good writing is slow writing then you’d say Slow Sam is the better writer. Though in reality, Fast Frank runs circles around Slow Sam based on Frank’s excellent consistency and writing speed.

When you don’t know how much time the author blocked off each day, you can’t say that a book that took longer to get published is better. That’s ludicrous!

Each Writer Is Different

Maybe Fast Frank is a fulltime author so he has four hours each day to block off for writing. And he has years of experience writing, so he knows how to be a good writer.

While Slow Sam has two jobs and has to take care of his kids when he gets home from work so he only has one hour at night to write. And he falls asleep many times, which explains why he only writes 350 words a week.

Because it takes Sam a year later to publish a book than Frank shouldn’t lead you to believe that Sam’s book is better quality. Their lives and the situations while writing the books are completely different.

If you don’t account for how each writer’s schedule is different, then you’ll fall into the misconception that writing speed translates to writing quality, where slow writers produce better work.

Book Size Varies

There are books on Amazon that take less than two hours to read. While other books are 100,000 words or more.

But when people think of a book’s quality, they often don’t consider the number of pages. And they should, because of course the book’s length affects the quality and time it takes to complete it.

An authority book that covers everything there is to know about a topic will take longer than a short book that details one subject of the overarching topic. For example, a book on internet business mastery needs to be extensive to cover every aspect. Yet a book on blogging can be shorter and still extremely valuable.

So you also certainly can’t evaluate the quality of a book based on time it takes to publish when you don’t know how many words it is. Then when you consider a writer’s concise writing or lack of concise writing, it gets extra muddy.

The Self Publishing Process Is Quick

After all the hoops you have to go through in traditional publishing, the earliest you can publish a book is a year. Many books take 18 to 24 months when it’s all said and done—which is where the traditional idea, and maybe where this crazy misconception came from, believes books take years to complete or they aren’t valuable.

By self publishing through the biggest publisher in the world (Amazon), after the book is written, you can publish a book in a matter of weeks if you know what you’re doing.

Just hire an editor for a few weeks. At the same time, work on the book cover. And then once the editing is complete, hire a formatter for a week.

Do these three steps and your book is ready to publish. Then you can repeat this process to write multiple more books and build an author empire.

For all these reasons, don’t believe the lie that writing speed determines writing quality. There are so many variables into this equation that you don’t know about.

And this means you can certainly write a quality book from start to publish in 90 days if you put your mind to it and allocate an hour each day to writing.

If you want to write a book, this book writing guide is waiting for you.

Related: Just Get Started Writing A Book And Trust The Process
Related: How To Set Writing Goals And Dominate

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