“The faster I write the better my output. If I’m going slow, I’m in trouble. It means I’m pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.”
Lately I’ve been writing fast, the opposite of what I’ve been doing for years and not at all what I’ve taught in workshops.
When I first began to write seriously, I wrote as slow as possible, word by word, sentence by sentence, as I’d read Annie Dillard did. This became a kind of self-inflicted torture; I was so busy “perfecting” things in my head that not much ended up being written. In graduate school, one of my teachers recommended getting as much down as possible so you have something to work with, comparing words on the page to stone ready to be carved.
Lately, I’ve been writing fiction and it seems to work best with speed, letting the story pour out without holding back, writing feverishly, in bold thrusts. There is something that happens in that mad rush: being pulled by words, by the story, instead of you trying to pull it. Afterwards, I go back and fine tune, taking it slow during revision.