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I'm reading Lawrence Block's memoir, in which he recalls his experience of writing rapidly. And it goes:

"Some of us are apt to describe a book as having virtually written itself, but that’s not really what happens; if it did, one wouldn’t feel so utterly exhausted at day’s end. But, tiring or not, I’ve had books that were written very rapidly, and I don’t know that they ever suffered for the speed of their composition. Some of the work I’ve liked the best, and that was the most favorably received, had a very short gestation period and an easy birth."

I'm confused about what "I don't know" and "suffer for" mean here. Is he actually saying that "I don't think writing rapidly did any harm to my work"?

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But, tiring or not, I’ve had books that were written very rapidly, and I don’t know that they ever suffered for the speed of their composition.

A similar statement would be:

But, tiring or not, I've had books that I have written very rapidly, and I don't think that they were more badly written because I had written them so fast.

He is using I don't know to say that he has no evidence to show that the books were worse by writing them fast rather than saying that he has no idea either way. You are correct in saying this would be synonymous with 'I don't think'.

By suffer for he means that the books were not worse off for.

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