Friday, September 22, 2006

The Tortoise & The Hare

I had an interesting horoscope today. No big revelations or anything like my last doom and gloom post for September, but it highlighted one of life's truths that I thought I would share. (BTW - no females betrayed me and DB still lives with me, so the horoscope, thankfully, was dead wrong.)

Anyway, from : "The tale of the tortoise and the hare has a most misleading moral. It implies that the great advantage of being slow but steady is that eventually, you will overtake a faster but more easily distracted competitor. That may be true - but it is an almost irrelevant side-effect. When you go your own way, at your own speed, life becomes much more enjoyable - so much so that you no longer feel interested in petty matters of 'success' or 'failure'. If you are happy now, you are doing the right thing."

This as I race to finish my second book, hoping upon hope I'll get edits on the first one and will be ready to dive into the third one in the trilogy. My fifth, sixth, and seventh ones are dancing around in my mind, ready to get on paper. I'm such a "hare" that I dash through parts, then my mind gives out and I end up asleep under a tree while the tortoise trots past me.

Maybe I'm missing the point. Maybe, in this mad dash to publication, I'm missing out on things. I should be enjoying the writing process more, learning about what works for me and having some fun with it. I should be falling in love with my heroes and enjoying my heroine's journey as I paint it on the screen. I should be laughing at my own quirkiness as I read over something I've written. I should be more appreciative of the writing community that has embraced me. If I don't publish in the next year, they're not going to kick me out. The Playground and my RWA chapter have helped immensely in this quest, but I still need to work harder on slowing down and enjoying the ride. There really is no destination here, just a long drive with some interesting turns, curves and occasional speed bumps.

As far as writing goes - I AM happy. I am doing the right thing for me. I'm following my dream and one day, I might actually achieve it. I need to appreciate that because I'm so much closer than so many other people who just sit back and dream without doing. Maybe I just need to take time to smell the roses. My writing will probably be better for it.

So, are you a tortoise or a hare? Are you enjoying the journey?


I know posting this zokumeter after this big revelation is sort of counter to what I've said, but I'm still proud of how I'm doing.

Revision Challenge

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
20 / 50


Angel said...

I think this revelation is a good thing, SP. I'm learning that in most things, we have to go at our own pace.

Many times I feel like a tortoise compared to the people around me. I'm a slow writer and I have a lot of distraction in my life. Recently I wondered if writing was the best thing for me in my life at this time, in my family's life at this time. One thing I've realized is that I can't push myself or my family all the time. Short bursts for a challenge, yes, but not all the time.
In a way that frustrates me, because it means publication will be even farther down the road. But I realize that is just the way it is for me and my family right now. And that might not be a bad thing. It might mean that when I DO finally publish, we'll be in a place where I can meet the output I need to be successful, especially in the category market I'm targeting.
So I'll just plod along, but that doesn't mean it won't sometimes upset me or that I won't strain to be more productive. It just means that I'll eventually have to resort to the slow and steady pace.
Wow, aren't I philosophical this morning. :)


Linda Winstead Jones said...

Ah horoscopes. Sometimes they're dead on, someimes -- not. This week mine told me to slow down and not be sloppy. This as I'm going through copy edits where I'm seeing a lot of small things I'd like to change. This is my chance to catch them all, to make the book better, so yeah -- in some cases slow is better.

Y'all know I'm big on the joy, but this week I've been banging my head against the desk on a regular basis. :-)

Your pace is your own. I tried writing more slowly a few years back, and it didn't work for me. Not at all. I love to have more time for each book, but that means putting the manuscript aside for a while before that last edit, not producing pages more slowly. There was a time when I put my manuscripts in the trunk of my car for "aging" before that last run through, but it's been awhile since I had that luxury. I want it back. :-/

I think I've gotten off track. Sorry. Anyway, run if you need to run, rest under the tree if that works for you. Smell the roses? Sure. But it doesn't do any good to force yourself to stop and smell the roses if the rose garden isn't where you want to be.

LJ -- apparently thoroughly confused. :-)

Playground Monitor said...

I don't think you're confused at all, LJ. I think what you're trying to say is that the way each of us operates is as individual and unique as our fingerprints. And when we try to tamper with that fingerprint, we just get in trouble.

I'm a slow writer too (though I proved to myself last week I can crank out a finished product in a week if I am heavily motivated). It's part temperament and part procrastination. I don't have deadlines imposed by someone else to meet, so I choose to take my time meeting the ones I set for myself.

Not sure if I believe in horoscopes, but several of us had ones yesterday that said we should get together with a group so we had an impromptu dinner last night and had a great time!

Back to plodding along. And if anyone needs a rosebush to smell, I have several in the backyard. *g*


Kathy said...

SP, LJ has a great point. We are who we are. We cannot become what is contrary to our nature.

I am a tortoise with a hare's heart. I get caught up in the details along the way like a kid playing with butterflies in the outfield but the desire to catch the ball, make a great play, run the race, and win the trophy pumps mightily through my veins, throbbing like a war beat, oftentimes deafening me to my natural process.

As with everything we have a choice. We can choose to deny our process, fight against it, try to change it, but that will never make us happy and our dissatisfaction will actually show in everything else we do. Perhaps the ideas and characters, thrusting against the bars erected in your brain SP, cry for freedom because you long to experience the joy in starting over, creating life out of an empty page. The infatuation of a new story is a great elixir, one not so easily dismissed.

Jot down your ideas for later use and then keep your eyes fixed on the race at hand.

(who needs to take her own advice)

Rhonda said...

**But it doesn't do any good to force yourself to stop and smell the roses if the rose garden isn't where you want to be.**

This struck me as very profound. I think I'm going to make a little flyer of it and put it over my computer.

As for pacing, just as everyone has their own "voice" everyone has their own method. There are times when the story simply floods out of me with little to no effort at all, then there are those that I have to drag kicking and screaming, fighting for every word. I think the safest thing to say is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. Find what works for you and stick with it. For me, keeping my butt in the chair when I hit a snag has been the hardest part. :-)

Problem Child said...

Focus on telling the story, not on writing a book. Process versus product, remember?

Yes, I know I need to take my own advice, but honestly, I think it's one of the dangers of a group like ours. "SP cranked out 20 pages yesterday, why didn't I? I've got to get busy; Angel just finished another book." I think it's really important to have folks around who challenge and inspire you, but at the same time it can become a sort of competition.

Enjoy the journey. Embrace the process. Remind me of that, OK?

Smarty Pants said...

I know everyone's process is their own, be it fast or slow, but I think the point for me, regardless of how fast I write, is that I have to enjoy it more. Writing itself is the wonderful part, not just getting published. My eye is just so focused on the destination that I'm not allowing myself to enjoy the journey. That's all.


Instigator said...

I think part of that mentality, SP is our culture. We tend to be a destination rather than trip society. The end results are more important than the journey we take to get them.

But you're right. It's very easy to lose the joy in the madness and pressure - whether it's self-imposed or not.


Rhondanels said...

PC, the thing to keep in mind when you start comparing your output compared to someone else's is that *your* story is different, *your* voice is different. So long as you're are mentally working on your story/keeping your butt in the chair, you are working, regardless of how many pages you produce.

Maven Linda Howard said...

Total Pantster that I am, I always fall in love with my heroes -- some more than others, but always. That's part of my process. Then I don't worry if they're being sensitive, or logical, or politically correct, I just let them be their wonderful, gloriously testosterone-poisoned selves, so, yeah, in that I'm the tortoise. My characters stop and meander through the rose gardens, take off on tangents, and because I'm a Pantster I let them go. Maybe it doesn't have anything to do with the plot, but it sure as hell has a lot to do with the characterization.

Is that a way of saying however it gets done is the right way?