Does the Tortoise Win in the Fiction World?

Is fiction writing like the slow tortoise?

chrisirogers23, CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr

Well, I’m writing. Every day, I sit down and write a little more of my next book. It is fiction. It is of the fantasy genre, with a new world created by my imagination. I won’t say any more than that just in case I do some significant revisions down the road!

So, every day I sit down and work on the project. And, as the writers in the parfait house know, it IS a project. A book is one heck of a big word document! I use the writing program Scrivener, and I like the format of it. So, here’s the thing. I don’t have a lot of time to devote to the book. Why is that? Well, I have bills to pay, which means I need to work. Plus, I like having some free time. Oh, and I sleep too. There you go.

Given the time constraints, there are days when I write very little. Every day I set aside the same amount of time to write. The amount? A half hour. Yes, one… half… hour. Okay, now you see where the ‘tortoise’ reference comes in. It’s a slow-going route. I’m at just over 15,000 words at the moment, and that means I’m not halfway yet.

But, here’s the way I look at it. There were the tortoise and the hare. Mr. Hare was very fast, but the tortoise, who was slow and steady, ended up with the win. Given this reasoning, I am hopeful that I will see this project to completion. I know it’s a matter of word by word, typing one key at a time. Some days I write very little, while other times the ideas jump at me, begging to be typed onto the blank screen in front of me.

Well, Mr. Tortoise, it looks like you have a companion on your route right now. I’m continuing on, and we’ll see where the route takes us.

This is christyb, talking to a tortoise (smiles).

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53 thoughts on “Does the Tortoise Win in the Fiction World?

  1. Julie Catherine

    You go girl – my motto this year is, “Do what you can, when you can.” I know that’s not enough for most writers, but given my health situation, it’s the best I can do at this point. I have faith that you will get there, whether you’re the tortoise or the hare! Love and hugs xoxox

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  2. Janine Huldie

    I know this feeling well and can tell you that each day is different here with writing. Somedays I get a ton of time (like when the girls are at school and not much client work to do) to just write others not so much. But still I always find my way back, too. Happy Writing and Sunday, too 🙂

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  3. Kitt Crescendo

    I cheer for tortoises all the time. In fact, here in Florida, we regularly stop our cars in the middle of the street for them so they can safely cross…or we help them by picking them up and carrying them to safety. What I’m trying to say is…take your time. Those who care for you will support you and cheer you on….and when you need that extra boost, we’ll even help carry you till you find your footing again.

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  4. rollyachabot

    Hi Christy… I suppose the question we all need to ask ourselves is who called it a race. Slow and steady from the heart of your imagination… yes even a half hour at a time… creates yet another.

    Hugs from Alberta

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  5. Eric Alagan

    Half an hour a day – 500 words a day – that’s 180,000 words a year. Asssuming your novel is the standard 60,000 to 80,000 words – it means within a year, you would have completed the first draft – easily. A second year to agonise over the entire plot/subplots, characters and dialogue – a novel every two years is the norm, my dear, for most authors.

    Of course, these are just numbers – which means, to stick to this plan – make sure your batteries don’t run flat.

    Welcome to the world of mechanical tortoises – Oops! – writers! I’ll see you along the way 🙂

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    1. Aquileana

      I ´ll comment here as a reply to Eric´ words above because he is so witty (once again)… Cheers Eric

      Regarding you Christy I do believe writing a book is a process not a race..
      so it doesn´t matter if you are a writer or a bunny-hare or a tortoise… The product itself is what counts and how you get through it…
      Keep it up.

      Aquileana 😉

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      1. Eric Alagan

        Very true, my dear – writing a novel is a journey, not a race. And in the process, we discover so much about ourselves.

        Thank you also for your kind words – I was a little cheeky 🙂

        Let’s all wish ChristyB a wonderful journey ahead,
        Eric

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  6. D.G.Kaye

    You go girl! It is quality not quantity, when it’s ready it will be ready! If self publishing you will find that the amount of work to be done after the book is ready is enough in itself. Sleep is an expensive commodity :). Enjoy all your moments. 🙂 xo

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  7. authormjlogan

    Keep writing, the tortoise wins every time. But honestly (LOL) you sleep? Let me introduce you to a good friend called caffeine, delivered in a deliciously addicting liquid called coffee. it keeps your character’s voices from taking over while you dream.

    Take your time, it really isn’t a race.

    MJ

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  8. sarahpotterwrites

    I am a really slow writer, as I like to spend equal time in reflecting upon the work in progress. But nobody can be a slow as Donna Tartt, who takes ten years to write each novel, but brilliant they are when they make it into print. Some people write too fast and become careless. I hate this whole pressure from publishers of genre fiction, for their authors to produce a book a year. The writing and the editing so often become slipshod.

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  9. Maggie Thom

    Whether you do it hare style or tortoise style the key is to keep moving forward on it. So congrats on doing that and making sure you’re writing regularly. Keep writing, you definitely have a gift. 🙂

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  10. bethteliho

    Hey there! I’m over here from Jeri’s blog. Sounds like you have an awesome plan for writing. I sort of do the same thing. Just a little everyday, you know? I’m trying to tie up editing/revisions on my first novel right now. UGH editing, amirite?

    I’m anxious for your next book – that’s my favorite genre to read!

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  11. lscotthoughts

    I love this analogy, Christy, very clever and I think the tortoise will win and so will you! Wishing you all the best in writing your book and making it to the finish line, slow is better sometimes! Hugs!

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  12. tessa

    Christy, look at the picture you included with your blog today. The tortoise is definitely ahead of the game…AND so are you! Continue to be positive about yourself and your writing, and it all will end positively. Don’t concentrate on each day’s success, but look to where you are headed with both barrels blazing. You Go Girl!

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  13. Lorraine Marie Reguly

    I feel your pain. In so many ways.

    I have been neglecting my book because it is painful to write. I never thought writing would be painful, but re-living events of the past while doing something I like – writing – has diminished my progress because I hate the emotional scarring aspects of it rearing their ugly heads. It’s like the whole one step forward ten steps back kind of deal. If it was two steps forward, one step back, at least I would be making progress. Sigh. So I know exactly how you feel.

    On the upside, you are doing SOMETHING. And something is better than nothing. So you go, girl!

    I’m almost at the 15000 mark, too. 🙂 Bet you’ll get there before me. 🙂

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      It’s certainly a big project, Lorraine! If you are struggling with the book as you are re-living the memories, I think perhaps it is too soon to be writing it. Take time and do as I am, writing something well apart from what brings you anguish. I send you hugs for your weekend, and I know you will keep kicking butt in the writing world!

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      1. Lorraine Marie Reguly

        Astute observation, Christy. That’s why I have been ignoring it. However, I have found some good coping strategies, and even landed a guest post on a memoir blog to share them. You may find these ideas helpful, even though I know you’re in a better place now. The link is: http://wrotebyrote.blogspot.ca/2014/01/coping-with-unexpected-emotions-when.html

        I am thinking I may focus on fiction for now, too. My recent win of a short story contest on LinkedIn has encouraged me.

        I think it’s time to finish editing my book of short stories! 😉

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