Fed up with eating snail and tortoise dust? Join us the #slowwriters.


I know this isn’t a glacier. It isn’t even an iceberg. It’s mini icebergs, in the Tweed but it’s the closest I can get.

Ah I was all fired up to write this post, but now I’ve labrynthitis, sinusitis and a temperature and everything’s a bit meh. Then again, that’s probably as good a time as any.

The received wisdom about indie publishing is that if you want to earn money you need to write lots and lots of books. Fast. Or you have to be all over the internet like a rash, but a good rash; a warm snuggley comfort blanket, perhaps, rather than a rash. But you have to be there, working on your soft sell marketing techniques 24/7 so that your book sales soar. Alas, it looks like this is true and it’s only the people with the kind of sales skills that Satan, himself would envy and also time, and lots of it, who make a living from self publishing fiction. And the reason that makes me feel a bit meh?

Well, I am a stay at home mum. I will never have the kind of time required to make it out of the self published pond slime. And if I had the remotest skill at selling anything, I’d have scored myself a trad deal by now because the way forward is hybrid. Even though I am cynical and old enough to know that life is never fair, I am pissed off that indie publishing is not the level playing field I hoped. Hence the meh.

However, I did feel better after reading this fabulous article on Chuck Wendig’s blog  in which he talks about how long it takes to become a writer. The basic gist being ‘a sod of a long time’. This quote, in particular, I loved:

‘I have been referred to at times as an overnight success, which is true as long as you define “overnight” as “a pube’s width shy of 20 years.”’

The basic gist of his post was that it takes as long as it takes. And I know he’s right, or I wouldn’t have started on this writing malarky. I want to do it, I have to do it and if I can only do it at a speed that makes glaciers look fast so be it. Sure my ‘overnight’ may be 50 years but it’s better than looking back and thinking ‘what if?’ than never having tried at all. Nine years on, I’m sitting here with 4 books under my belt (although I did make my first attempt at the first one when I was 20). I sell less and less of the two that are published each month but I can’t help living in hope. Such is the hopeless optimism of the artist!

Commenting on another post on Chuck Wendig’s blog I encountered two other stay at home Mums who felt exactly the same way as I did. I got chatting on twitter with one of them, Megan Haskell and we came up with the idea of #slowwriters. A support group for people who are ideas rich and time poor, or for people who take a long time to write a book – because not everyone can churn out a book in a month. Sometimes, quality cannot be rushed.

So, if you’re gnashing your teeth with frustration as the snails and tortoises disappear over the horizon, if you sometimes think that there may be fossils that are formed in less time that it takes you to write a book, take heart. Here’s how Megan described #slowwriters – because she does it much better than I can.

‘We’re time-poor, idea-rich individuals with responsibilities that can’t be pushed aside or down-prioritized. As such, we’ve come up with a brilliant, albeit unformed plan. We’re going to create a support group for slow writers, individuals who feel frustrated with their glacial progress and need someone to point out that progress is progress, even if it’s only inches a year.’

Or that, as Chuck Wendig put it, ‘it takes as long as it takes’.

If you are a writer with other commitments, duties, things you cannot put aside that mean your writing only happens slowly you might feel this way too. Would you be interested in taking part in a group like that?


Because I am really grown up and a very grown up and mature mother and because I can: my lad, as the Baldy Man (that’s my hair).


Filed under General Wittering

25 responses to “Fed up with eating snail and tortoise dust? Join us the #slowwriters.

  1. Regards promoting your book(s) MT, send me an article about yourself, etc, to upgrade from the featured author article I did about you on 10th July 2013, see:


    Get ideas from the following link, wrap up, blow your nose, wipe your eyes and do it now 😀


    LOL 😀

  2. texasdruids

    MT, I’m a slow writer too, and might be interested in such a group — if it doesn’t take much time. What do you have in mind? I can’t promise to do any blogging. I do too much of that as it is.

    • I was thinking more that we could encourage each other, more than anything. So the Chuck Wendig article I mentioned that is about how it takes as long as it takes, I might tweet that with the #slowwriter tag. Or if a slow writer wrote a blog piece on any aspect of being… Well… Slow I’d tweet it or reblog it with the tagAlso maybe a support thread on a forum, uk kindle users forum, kindle-boards or the like. None of us have much spare time, that’s the whole point. I see it as more support than anything.



  3. Sounds great – I’m hoping to start my next book on 1st Feb which isn’t too far away!!
    Not making a fortune yet so I’m also spending time building up a new biz too do have a feeling I will be v slow.
    Btw, 4 books in 9 years sounds v impressive to me !!

    • Good luck. I’ve just ordered Who Would Marry a Farmer from your site ;-). Thanks for the pep re the books. It feels incredibly slow but I think maybe as a good writer cyber buddy pointed out, it’s probably the way I’m going about it, ie writing what is, essentially, one very long book. Starting with a trilogy was definitely a piss poor idea.



      • V creative tho to have enough material in mind for a trilogy, we are starting them soon. Many thanks for the order and I hope you enjoy it x

  4. Am on phone, hope my comment posted 🙂 will check when on laptop later x

  5. Reblogged this on Sophie E Tallis and commented:
    An excellent blog by Mary (MT) MacGuire, that is SO true of a lot of indie writers, including me. Glacier speed writing? Oh yeah! 😀

  6. I may not be a stay at home mum, but I too have found it nigh on impossible to juggle my full time work (which parenting is) with writing. I really don’t know how fellow writers like our lovely Will Macmillan Jones, do it! Glacier speed is about right for me. To date, I have only written one book so far, still struggling on number 2 after a year of crippling illness. And yes, although that first book sold quite well, it wasn’t enough to change my life and that was back in 2012, which seems a life time ago now. So, your four books in nine years is looking pretty damn good to me sweetie! Lol. But believe me, I understand the slow slow speed and the frustration that goes with it. I would have loved to have been traditionally published and am still hoping that will happen one day, in the meantime I continue to juggle…at my dreadfully laborious pace! 😀 Yeap, I’d certainly be up for joining a Glacier Group! 😛

    • Our Will is impressively organised and I am in awe,a Jim, too. I’m going straight to my twitter list, now, to add you to the #slowwriting section. That’s why it’s not slowmummywriting. The big thing that held me up last year was a death in the family. It’s not limited to mums, it’s people who’ve been I’ll, like yourself, who are carers all sorts. The uniting factor is that frustration we all feel!



      • Ah, thank you MT, yes, last year was easily the worst year of my life and I’m only really coming out of the illness now and beginning to reclaim my life back, like starting to tentatively drive again. But as far as writing went, all I could manage was the odd poem or short story. Book 2 really hasn’t been touched in months and it really gets me down to be honest. Because of the stupid illness, I just lost my ability to concentrate for longer than a few moinutes which meant novel writing was quite impossible. Hey ho, hoping this year will be MUCH better! Thank you sweetie. 😀 xx

  7. What a fantastic idea for a group! I have to believe most writers aren’t able to churn out a book a month, though I’ve seen a few who can. I’ve written a book in a month, but it required such extensive work to make it publishable, that the process for editing and revising it took over a year. It’s far easier in the long run to take my time and write quality work from the beginning. We all have our own method. We all have our own reasons for not being able to write 8 hours a day–family, work, health. Thanks so much for writing this post. It makes me feel so much better about myself and my slow writing!

  8. Writing at a glacial pace? That’s definitely me. I used to be faster at it, but I think that was three kids ago, back when I had a modicum of free time. These days when I get a bit of free time, I’m more likely to nap than write. Count me in as a slow writer! 🙂

  9. great idea, I’m up for it 🙂

    • Cool, if you’re fed up, or have a generally #slowwriter ish thing to say, pop it on Twitter or post blog posts to twitter with the #slowwriter hash tag we’ll be looking out for them.



Leave a Reply to Sophie E Tallis Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.