IWSG: I’m a tortoise, not a hare

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“Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!” Alex J Cavanaugh

It’s time for another Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) post. Actually, in all honesty, I’m a little behind time. The official IWSG post date was yesterday, but I figure better late than never, right? And funnily enough, that’s quite a good intro to this post.

There are so many writer-bloggers that have me in absolute awe. People like IWSG Creator and Ninja Master, Alex, who comments on a bazillion posts a day and is just about to publish his third book. People like RaShelle Workman, who has independently published countless novels over the past few years and sold 300,000 copies in the past 12 months alone. People who participate in NaNoWriMo (where you write an entire 50,000 word novel in the month of November).

I’m not one of those people, not even close. The thought of NaNoWriMo is enough to send me into a corner of the room, rocking and muttering incoherently. My first book took me 11 years from first thought to finished product. When it comes to writing, I’m a tortoise, not a hare.

Sometimes I’ve wished I worked faster. I’ve wished I could be one of those people who churn out words at a feverish pace. But that’s simply not me. I have occasionally tried to make myself work faster, but it’s always ended up stressing me out and actually slowing my progress.

Now that I have a daughter, I have even less time to write so who knows how long my next book will take to complete. But you know what? That’s fine. Because I love writing and I’ve decided I’m okay with being slow. It’s like the literary equivalent of this:

Lapping on the couch

I may not be writing fast, but I’m still writing. Some people may write 50 books in their lifetime, I may only write five. And that’s totally okay with me. 🙂

How about you?

When it comes to writing, are you a tortoise or a hare?



Filed under Insecure Writers Support Group, Writing

24 responses to “IWSG: I’m a tortoise, not a hare

  1. T.F.Walsh

    Great post. I am a tortoise most of the time too…hehe. Especially when it comes to writing. I wish I could writer faster, but I just have to accept I’m slow.

  2. Great post, Cally! You’re so right that no matter what your writing speed, any writing is better than no writing. For me tortoise or hare actually depends on the book – some definitely come easier than others!

    • Thanks, Susanna. Glad you enjoyed the post. I know what you mean about tortoise or hare being dependent on what you’re writing. Some ideas are much simpler to execute than others. My current idea is a very complex one, but I’m in love with it so I’m willing to invest the time. 🙂

  3. Cally, fortunately it’s not a race!
    Thank you for the kind words, but I am not a hare either. People who succeed big time like RaShelle put out several books a year, and there is no way I could write that fast. But that’s all right. I’ll just go at my own pace and do my best. That’s what you need to do as well.
    And a little late on a IWSG post is no problem!

    • It’s not a race – very true, and something I often have to remind myself of. Not just with writing but with other things as well, like whether my daughter is learning to sit faster or slower than other babies in my mothers’ group. I’m competitive by nature but I try to keep it at bay! I see you as a hare in terms of the blogosphere. I’m in awe of your ability to have genuine connections with the amount of bloggers that you do. You truly are a shining light in the writing blogosphere. 🙂

  4. I’m a bit of both. When it comes to writing first drafts, I’m definitely a hare. Once I hit my groove, I fly through those first drafts.

    In the grand scheme of writing, though, I’m definitely a tortoise. I have at least 6 different completed drafts of novels, 10 if you count all the drafts of those novels that I’ve written before. And yet I haven’t done anything with them. Most of them still aren’t at the point where I’d want to show them to anyone. So as far as being a successful writer, I’m actually way further behind those who just have one finished draft that they’ve already sold to a publishing house.

    The great thing about writing, though, is that it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you write as long as you’re still writing and are happy with what you’re doing. No matter what, there will always be people who are faster than you, and there will always be people slower than you. I’ve found I’m happier when I stop comparing myself to other people. Of course, I don’t usually succeed in doing that, but at least I try to! 😀

    • You’re absolutely right. There will always be people faster and slower, and in the end, it’s the quality of the writing that counts. I probably show my work to people a little earlier than others would, mainly because my enthusiasm gets the better of me. Perhaps you should take the leap and show someone your writing – you might be pleasantly surprised by their response. Alternatively, they may be able to give you some feedback that helps you to take the writing to a place where you ARE happy with it. Thanks for visiting and commenting. 🙂

  5. I am not what I would consider a fast writer. I am faster than a book a decade, though, but, then, I spent a couple of decades not writing, so I have to catch up.

    • I truly hope that my next books are written at a faster pace than a book a decade. Considering the idea in my head at the moment is a time-dependent three-book series, it would be incredibly difficult to write it over a 30-year timespan! 🙂

  6. Keep in mind that tortoises generally live far longer than hares. I guess things can balance out in the end.

    Tossing It Out

  7. I LOVE the picture of the guy running. So true!
    And, boy, does that put things in perspective.

    I’m in between. I write slower than some, but I turn out a more-polished finished product than most, I think. My problem right now is that things out of my control are keeping me from writing. I’m frustrated, but I just have to wait.

    Good to hear from you. 🙂
    IWSG #118 until Alex culls the list again.

    • Yes, things are keeping me from writing too. I have such limited time to write at the moment as my little baby takes up most of my waking (and sleeping) hours. I get frustrated with not being able to make progress, but at the same time, I wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s the light of my life. 🙂

  8. Is there such a thing as a tortoise going backwards? That’s my writing status at the moment. Or I could call it a pseudo sabbatical from writing due to packing up, selling a house, building a new one and two moves in six months. I know it’s making excuses for procrastination and inactivity but as I am technically without a proper home, the only writing I’ve been doing lately has been blog posts on the of the build of our new home. As for progress on my novels, (there are several unfinished) I am not in a good creative place… yet. In about a month or so I hope to be moving into a new home and having the delight of setting up my own creative space. Maybe next year this backwards tortoise may get a move on and give the hare a go.

    • I’m trying to imagine a tortoise going backwards and I think they would have great difficulty. Moving and building houses is not only time consuming, it also sucks a lot of your mental energy so it’s completely understandable why your creative flow has been slow recently, Robyn. I love the idea of setting up your own creative space in your new home though – make sure you take photos of it when it’s done. 🙂

  9. Great post honey 🙂

    I recently woke up to this because i think I’ve spent the past 2 years being a hare….but then a few weeks ago i decided that i would much rather be a tortoise…i want to enjoy the scenery along the way 🙂


  10. Great post. Slow and steady gets the work done that much better. I’m a hare when it comes to writing that first draft, because I love taking my time with revision. Digging through a pile of word slush and creating a quality story is where I have the most fun 🙂

  11. Ultimately, for me, the words come when they come. Alex is amazing, but I am not able to comment on that many blogs. Usually, I can barely keep up on my reader. Since I am between books, I’m using this as the perfect time to,discover all the lovely new blogs that have popped up, or that I’ve missed while being buried in my writing. What I admire most are people who are comfortable with what they can do. You sound like you know who you are writing-wise, and that will pay off for you in the end! 🙂

  12. This is a really great post! I should really get my writing up to pace.

  13. I’m slow too, but you know what they say about slow and steady…

  14. I’m kind of a tortoise too compared to many others! I’ve never done NaNoWriMo before, mainly because November is one of the most insane months of the year for a teacher in this country (as our school year ends in December). But now that I’m no longer teaching, I’m wondering if I should give NaNo a try this year to see if I can write a first draft without worrying about trying to make it perfect. Eeek!
    But we should each write at the pace that we’re happy with and not compare ourselves to other authors. So if you’re happy with your writing pace, then stick to that!

    • Ooh, you’re a braver girl than me, if you’re considering doing NaNo. I wouldn’t say I’m 100% happy with my writing pace, but at the moment, I’m happy to be giving other parts of my life priority. After all, Mackenzie will only be a baby once. 🙂

  15. It is amazing when peeps like Alex and RaShelle can do so much–but I don’t think they have kids do they? Not positive, but it does help explain certain productivity. For those of us parents who work a regular job and try to write on the side, it’s impossible to keep up with everything. I usually get out at least one novel a year that’s polished, and I”m really satisfied with that. Plus, writing a great story isn’t something that can be rushed.
    With you having a new baby, I’m amazed you find ANY time to write. It’s hard being a new mom. Just wait tll she’s in school full time–then you’ll be pumping out more work. School’s a beautiful thing! 🙂

    • Yes, good point. Being a mum definitely takes up a lot of time, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂

      One polished novel a year is definitely something to be proud of. I’m looking forward to reading your latest effort very soon!

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