Thoughts on Writing Speed

tortoise and hare

Today I contemplated various writing strategies. Actually, it was really thoughts about how we accomplish anything we set out to do in life.

I’m the sort of person who hatches an idea and wants it done right then and there. It’s a characteristic that has helped me push on and finish important projects and unimportant projects in life, but it’s the same trait that makes me horrible at crafty things (that require time and patience) and it does make it rather torturous to live with yourself having a brain that constantly obsesses over getting something done.

For example, I started our Christmas cards in early November. I had the week off for Thanksgiving, so I used the time to address the envelopes–all of it by hand. I couldn’t stop until I finished. And then there were stamps to get. Once the stamps were appropriately fixed onto the envelopes, then I had to mail them. I wanted them out of my house right then and there.

Sometimes I wonder why I couldn’t be the person who can just do things whenever they feel like it. Maybe next week. Maybe next month. Maybe never…

I’m grateful for me, at the end of the day. I get things done. I just wish I could be kinder to myself in the process. It’s a work in process.

Anyway, today my husband asked me several questions about writing. Writing a novel has taught me that “hatched ideas” don’t grow into full-fledged chickens overnight. It takes time. Lots and lots of time and effort.

I’ve become comfortable with the idea of a daily quota. I try not to look at my lengthy outline beyond what I need to meet my quota for the day because every time I do I start brainstorming ways to speed up the process, and that just doesn’t happen. I know better, yet my brain still wanders to that alternative.

“It’s the Tortoise and the Hare,” I told him.

It doesn’t matter who you are. No excuse is valid. The only thing you need to worry about is to do as much as you can (I like to use my daily quota, which is 1700 words) and stick to it. Little by little, you will finish what you set out to do. Speed doesn’t matter. Skill develops over time. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that you stick to your commitment to move forward.

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