Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Goal is Not to be a Speedy but a Finisher

I have friends who are putting out successful books faster than I can run. Well, if you look at my pace lately, I’m not going very fast, but they are. When I see an email that says they're releasing the “next in the series,” I let out a heavy sigh and wonder why I'm so slow.  My runner friends pass me up, too, and I wonder why I can't run as fast as them.

            Am I just failing to move my big rocks forward. You know those big projects that seem overwhelming unless you tackle them daily. Or, maybe I never get around to eating the frog. That’s the big thing you dread every day so you put it off. In reality, if you did the thing you dreaded the first thing in the morning, then the rest of the day, you'd be swimming in sunshine.

            I don’t know why I’m slow, why I fail to move my rocks, or why I put off eating the frog. I didn’t use to be slow. I could send cards flying around the bridge table faster than any other dealer. I could also clean a kitchen after a big meal quicker than anyone I knew, and I could get projects completed and out the door hours or days before the deadline, But now that I’m 62, well, I’m just slowing down. It may be the natural order of things or perhaps it’s just that I’m tired of moving fast and I'm finally enjoying the absence of deadlines and "must-dos."

            "Whoa, there a minute, Miss Kathy. Have you forgotten the 26.2 miles you plan to run in September or the book you intend to release? Sounds to me like you’ve got two hefty deadlines."

            Okay, maybe I do. If I stopped comparing myself to other writers I would see that my production fits me like an old wine skin, and my pace fits with my experience and age.

            So what if I’m not as fast as I use to be, or as fast as I want to be? What’s important is that I finish because that's what it’s all about—finishing.

            What rocks have you failed to move forward? Is there a big, fat frog waiting for you each morning? If so, perhaps today is the day you’ll get it done. Join me in the rock quarry and we'll chip away together.

            Happy writing and running, Kathy


Taryn Raye said...

Slow and steady wins the race? I had to laugh at your reference to frog-eating.

“Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” -Mark Twain

Gotta love Samuel- he had a way with words. ;)

I've definitely been struggling with those rocks and that frog, too- the WIP that never seems to want to end. I started it in November 2010 for National Novel Writing Month, made it to 50,000 words and then I tucked it away when I had other things (edits, publication, promo, life) pop up and I'm just now getting close to "the end." Close enough to taste it and I'm so glad because this one has been a booger- a thorn in my side though I love the characters and the's been like pulling teeth.

We can both get through this. Writers work at all paces, not one of us working at the same speed and it is hard sometimes to see others just zipping right along, pumping out more than our brains can possibly fathom, but you write at the rate that's right for you. As you said, it's the finishing that matters, not how fast you get there.

Edillon said...

I have the same problem. Some days I write my word count and feel great Others I don't know where the time goes. Writing the dreaded second book doesn't help. Exactly as Taryn says we don't need to compare ourselves to other writers. You are doing it and that is all that matters!

Unknown said...

We are doing it, aren't we? Even though some days it's so painful! Thanks, Taryn, for telling me where the eating the frog came from. I didn't remember the source! Gotta love him.

Edillion & Taryn, thanks for stopping by today and letting me know I'm not alone.


joanne guidoccio said...

Great post! I can certainly identify with your daily struggle. Some days, I feel like it's 1 step forward, 3 steps back. By the way, I love the reference to frog eating.

Unknown said...

Joanne, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. We all struggle daily to do what we need to do and want to do. It's nice to know that others are, too! Not that we want others to struggle, but just knowing that we're not alone makes a difference.

F. Stone said...

I believe in quality, not quantity. Writing is a creative process that requires time and patience.