I do everything fast. I talk fast, walk fast, eat fast, and even write fast. Of course, there are some advantages to writing fast. My penchant for speed greatly increases my dollars per hour pay rate on the articles I sell. Flying fingers makes it easy for me to accomplish my goals and to crank out an article even with last minute notice. Unfortunately, it also makes it easy to write material that sells, but never goes beyond being “good enough.”
Over the past week I've spent a lot of time setting writing goals for 2006. Some have to do with the volume of articles I'd like to submit every month. Other goals have to do with the amount of money I'd like to make. Production goals have their place, and anyone actually attempting to maintain a positive balance in their writing account deals with the issue of productivity. But even in the midst of production goals, quality needs to remain high.
Balance is the key. If I focus completely on quality, then I can edit the life out of a piece. Or I can obsess over every little word and literally shut down. But perhaps after writing as if a big dog is chasing me, I should go through my piece and consider how I can make it better. This needs to go beyond wondering if something is grammatically correct. I need to think about how much "punch" the article contains. Does it do more than just state the facts? Does it engage not just the mind but the heart as well? Have I written this article to the best of my ability? Will it make the editor and potentially the readers ask for more? If not, what is the point?
Thunderously typing words as fast as they come to me helps me to meet deadlines. But perhaps I should add one thing to my writing goals for 2006: to write better than I ever have. Unless I make a conscious effort to do otherwise, I just might sacrifice quality on the altar of speed.