One of the most commonly heard cliches you hear relating to writing is that writing a novel is a marathon not a sprint. The fact that it’s totally correct doesn’t make it any less of a cliche. But that fact that it’s a cliche doesn’t mean it should be denied either.
When thinking about really hoary old cliches and writing, another one that comes to mind is the old fable of the tortoise and the hare. You know the one. Hare whooshes ahead, then gets overconfident and takes a nap, enabling the slow old tortoise to overtake and win the race. What was the motto of that tale? Slow and steady wins the race.
From where I’m sitting, slow and steady seems like a pretty good rule for anything I can think of. I’ve always been a slow and steady sort of person. Never in a hurry to get things done. Like to consider all the angles before I jump into anything.
So how is that working for me at the moment?
Well, let’s apply it to my major project at the moment – the rewriting of my current novel.
In order to find an answer, I’ll need to split this phrase into its two constituents.
I’ll start with slow. Yes, there’s no doubt I can apply the word ‘slow’ to my progress. I began the redrafting process back in February, and as of this moment I’m somewhere around the end of chapter 2. That’s right, 2 chapters in a couple of months. If that doesn’t define slow, I’m not sure what does. And given that slow is one of my benchmarks, I should be pretty pleased with myself.
Which comes to my other benchmark – steady. How am I going in that area. Well, I haven’t done any writing for the last two days, though I did manage some a few days ago. And before that, I didn’t do anything for a few weeks, but I did manage a day or two of writing before that.
Does that sound like steady? I’d have to say no. In fact, it actually sounds like the opposite of steady. Unsteady…disteady…or whatever that might happen to be.
So you can see how I’m struggling to follow my rule. There’s plenty of slow but not a lot of steady. And slow but not steady definitely puts a hold on progress.
What am I going to do about it? How do I plan on getting my writing back to gradual but consistent progress? I have no idea. Like many of us, I’m just taking things one day at a time.
Ask me next week. Ask me next month. Maybe there’ll be a different answer. Or maybe there won’t.
Posted by Jonathan Gould and tagged as