We Shouldn’t Value Speed Over Power

When my first book came out, around 2000, one of the questions I was asked was — how long did it take you to write it?

Fair question. Curious minds want to know.

The answer, now, is, it all depends. Back then I might have said, oh, three years. 

Conventional wisdom says a book takes three years.


It all depends on the kind of book — generally, fiction takes longer to write than nonfiction books. Now, don’t think this is the rule, it’s simply a generalization. It’s what’s said; do I believe it — sort of, but only partly.

The fuller answer is far more complicated. Much like anything else, I suppose.

When my first book came out, I had been writing it for almost a decade, truly. When I say writing I mean drafting, editing, revising, setting it ablaze in the backyard, tossing it in the great big sea, writing it again, editing, revising, and so on.

Still that’s not the answer. Not really.

My first book, which came out in 2000, took me 29 years to write. Happy Face Smile emoticon!

You get the idea?

In the final analysis, there shouldn’t be any hard and fast (pardon the pun) rules for getting a book done. It’s done when it’s done. Speed gets it done, but so does slow.

If you’re producing books at a fair clip, you end up saying, well, that’s good enough. And sometimes that’s how it is. Nothing’s perfect. 

But, there are other times, other books, that don’t truck in speed, and take much more longer to birth, so to speak. leaves took me a lifetime, but was composed over the past two decades. I just couldn’t let it go.

Now, I am horrible at math, but by my calculations, to answer your question, dear reader: leaves took me 53-going-on-54 years to write.

Happy Face Smile emoticon wearing geek glasses!

Now on to my next book. See you… well, when I see you.


Source: Malcolm Gladwell on Why We Shouldn’t Value Speed Over Power | Heleo