Wednesday, March 7, 2018

IWSG & Embracing My Turtle Side


Hello and Happy March, all! I sat out the February IWSG because I was finally making some progress on my writing and wanted to devote my time and energy to that, but unfortunately that sense of progress didn't even last through the whole month. Instead, I was hitting my head against more walls and once again wondering if I would ever finish another story.

When I wrote my first books everything seemed to come together so quickly that I was sure it would always be that way. That fit my personality, as patience has never been my strong suit. I tend to do everything quickly, so writing at a snail's pace has been frustrating to say the least.

Then I remembered that there is another thing I love doing that I don't do quickly. I started running last year for the first time in my life and was amazed how well I took to it and how it became something I looked forward to doing. Now I'm working on training again and hope to be able to run a 10k race by the end of the year.

Even though I love it, I don't have any delusions that I am a fast runner. I'm very comfortable as a turtle, and I know I'm not going to be the hare. I'm slow and that's totally okay with me. I'm not in competition with anyone but myself. It dawned on me that I should try looking at writing the same way.

There's no reason I have to try to finish a story quickly. I am not on any deadline and I don't have a contract I am obligated to fulfill. I can be a turtle writer just like I'm a turtle runner. I know some writers write several books a year and maybe I was trying to compete with that on some level, but I now realize that, just like with running, I'm not actually competing with anyone but myself when I write. I just want to enjoy what I'm doing and improve my skills.

So this is my new motto for both running and writing. I'm going to remember it next time I get frustrated and feel like hitting my head against those walls again.



Any other turtles out there? Either writers or runners?


This is my post for the March meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. The group was founded by our Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. To view list members and this month's co-hosts, visit the IWSG page here.

41 comments:

  1. This is such a great outlook to have. I really need to figure out how to embrace it myself, since I'm an incredibly slow artist and never fail to feel depressed about it. Hope you don't find yourself head-desking too much in March!

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  2. No, we're not on deadlines. We can take our time.
    I run five miles a day and everyone says I should do a short marathon, but I just don't love it enough.

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  3. I'm a turtle or an ant writer. I have so much going on with helping my mom move here and then adjust, that's all I can do. Like you, I'm not under contract. And awesome that you started running. I'm a committed walker.

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  4. I needed to read this post today, to remind myself that I'm a turtle too and that it's okay!

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  5. Love this, Julie! I sometimes feel pressure to produce stories and novels at a faster pace than I'm comfortable with, but I'm just going to keep embracing my inner tortoise and run my own race - literally and figuratively. I might even embrace two "outer" tortoises, too. :)

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  6. That's a great way to look at it. I'm such a snail of a runner, but I used to be faster with writing. Now I'm becoming a slower writer too. I've always been a slow editor. Heh.

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  7. I'm in the same place as you. I'm writing more short stories, but struggling to get the novel done. Just keep moving forward no matter the pace.

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  8. I am a total turtle. You may remember from my old blog that I closed each post with a picture of a turtle because I felt exactly the same way you described in this post. I don't have deadlines, I accept my pace, and I'm happy this way. I love being a pantser and a turtle. I'll see you somewhere on the path :)

    Elsie

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  9. Compared to some other writers (never do this!) I'm a turtle. Just as the adage says: slow but sure wins the race. I'd rather be that turtle than race through something so quickly I have to redo everything. Best wishes on the writing. I admire your goal of running a 10k.

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  10. Julie, what a great, inspiring post!!! I can't run, so I give you much credit for that. I can barely walk with my bum knee, but I do, and go slow, turtle slow...hahaa.. I felt I was lagging behind in my writing because authors with my publisher seem to release a new book or novella every couple of months, but that's not me, and I'd get frustrated. Nowadays, I'd be happy with publishing one book a year or every two years, it depends if my muse is working with me or against me.

    Hold onto that fabulous attitude!!!

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  11. I have to admit that I'm always in a hurry. I walk fast. I run fast. I get upset with myself when I go slow. But it's okay to go slow when you need to!

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  12. Definite turtle here.
    I love the turtle symbolism.

    "It indicates the turtle is a symbol of longevity, endurance, persistence, and the continuation of life (sometimes against incredible odds)." http://www.whats-your-sign.com/animal-symbolism-turtle.html

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  13. Turtles don't give up. I took care of one of my grandfather's turtles and wow, that turtle was stubborn about getting where he wanted to go (the ditch in front of my grandfather's property). At every opportunity, he went that direction. If I had him outside and I wasn't paying attention, he picked up speed and ran for it.
    So, write on! Keep the goal in front of you and just go for it, the speed doesn't matter.
    (BTW, when I published several books in three years, I had those books on the back-burner for 3-7 years before that. I'm regretting not pacing myself now, for many reasons.)

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  14. That meme is perfect. Just Go! Love it. Keep running and enjoying it.

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  15. I can relate to your first paragraph. I should have finished the manuscript I'm working on about five months ago. Life and other things happened, and the story simply stalled. Recently, I figured out why it stalled, which makes me feel a little better. I have to finish it this month.

    Good for you for starting to run. That really is a lifestyle change. Your attitude is perfect, too. I really enjoyed this post. It helped me, too. Thank you!

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  16. I love this post! I have faced that same reality. I'm finishing up the last of four books I began years ago. I decided to start a new one--as a break--and it's difficult. It's not flowing as I thought it would (as you said). I wanted to publish a book a year and it looks like that is never going to happen!

    Sigh.

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  17. Hi Julie - slow and sure ... you are so right. Clever to tie in your running with writing up your book - good for you ... cheers Hilary

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  18. I am a turtle writer, too. I've tried everything I know, used all the tips I've read, and even some outrageous things to write faster. Nothing has worked. Like you, I finally accepted that I'm a book-a-year writer at best. It gets much better after you accept that - at least it did for me. I don't write any faster, but I don't mind it as much.

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  19. All turtles finish the race, too. We each have our own writing pace and we should embrace it. :)

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  20. Hi, Julie!

    Good for you on both running and writing.... As others have said, TURTLES do finish eventually as you will too!

    With Spring just around the corner, I am sure the sun will shed lots of much needed light on you for your writing......

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  21. Congrats on the running!

    I am a turtle writer too- so I love that motto. I think I may need to print it and hang it up as a reminder. :)
    ~Jess

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  22. Oh yeah. I'm a total turtle. If I can write a book every 5 years, I'm doing well.

    Love that tortoise picture. He looks so happy!

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  23. I think you're totally right. The only time I am a fast writer is when I have spent a lot of time allowing a story to gel in my mind-- probably why the first books are so quick to write-- they lived with us for a long time before putting the pen to paper.

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  24. I'm a turtle who is 106 yrs old carrying weights:) I am a turtle through and through. I do finish even though it takes a long time. I don't run at all and never cared for it but I do like to walk and have walking poles now. I am walking a bit now which feels good

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  25. Oh yeah, I'm definitely a turtle, and it works well for me, too. Less stress. Besides, my only deadline is to try to finish my projects before I'm dead. If I don't make it? PBBBBT! Who cares? I won't be around to worry about it. :)

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  26. I'm definitely a turtle when it comes to writing. I love that quote when thinking of it that way.

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  27. I don't know how anyone can write multiple books in a year. I'm a turtle writer too. Glad you're at peace with that.

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  28. A very important lesson. As writers we have to be who we are. needed this lesson today, on pacing myself. Thankyou, Julie!

    Damyanti

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  29. Hey, turtle! Cute post. I was never a fast runner and unfortunately I can't run anymore due to back problems--it's probably better to be a slow runner than not a runner at all. :-) I have turned into a turtle swimmer and I'm trying to get more hare-like in preparation for a swim meet in May. How long ago did you start writing? I started writing fan fiction in 2007 and I couldn't get enough of it, writing every day and feeling addicted. My first novel was published in 2010 and I continued to feel hooked. But recently I'm not feeling that same fire in my belly. Do you feel a burning desire to write?

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  30. I am definitely a turtle too! I lament how little I've finished with my current WIP and how much rewriting I've had to do when it's not even finished yet. But I refuse to give up! And it sounds like you're not giving up either. :)

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  31. Turtle in running and writing-check and check. Turtle without legs when dealing with clutter around the house.

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  32. Yep I think I'm a turtle too! I'm jogging to the end of this first draft, but the finish line is in sight so that's good. I always tell myself progress is progress however small. Happy writing and running.

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  33. I'm not a runner; I tried joining the track team when I was a kid but I didn't like running. I think my problem was that I didn't practice running on my own time; I only ran during track practice and track meets. It's like they say: practice makes perfect. Or at the very least, it keeps you from coming in last in a race. :)

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  34. I will join the turtle club. And I LOVE that quote!

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  35. Yep. I know just what you mean. I've always been a slow writer, but this latest novel I'm wrapping up has been the worst yet. A page at a time, if I'm lucky. I don't know why it's been that way. I love the story and characters, and I like what I've written after going back to read after letting it sit, but it has just been agonizingly slow.

    Also, I'm going to try and get back in the swing of things around here again. I think part of my problem is the lack of camaraderie to help kick me in the butt when I'm stuck. :)

    And yay you for the running!

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  36. Love the turtle metaphor:) Running can definitely be therapeutic. I've done races, but I'd love to do a marathon some day:)

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  37. Turtle high five! Whenever I do run, I'm super slow. I'm finding it's getting hard on my ankles these days. But I can do a fast walk! :)

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  38. I'm a turtle. One book a year or maybe two over eighteen months. I'd rather do it right than fast. hehehe

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  39. There's no doubt that I'm a turtle - look how long it took me to get here! I know whatever you write is always worth the wait, Julie! Have a Happy Easter!

    Julie

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  40. You're so right! You're on your own timeline. No need to rush it.

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Thank you for your comments!