Monday, June 29, 2009

Be the turtle

I have a love/hate relationship with running. I love how it makes me feel. I love how it makes losing weight easier. I hate heaving myself out of bed at 5:30 a.m. to run in order to avoid the Sahara-like temperatures we have later in the day. I hate being slower than everyone else. I hate that an 80-year-old mall-walking granny could beat me in a race.

Sometimes I love the actual running and sometimes I hate it. But I hit the greenway this morning with a new motto: Be the turtle. (Stolen from someone quoted in Women's Running magazine, to which I subscribe more for motivation than anything else.)

Be the turtle. Slow and steady wins the race. And yes, I know the fable is about a tortoise, but I like the word 'turtle' better, and word sounds are everything in a mantra.

(me, this morning. Note the determination in my eyes. The firm set of the mouth. My eyes turn red around mile 2.)

Lo and behold, I ran all three miles without walk breaks. Never mind that my average time was a glacial 13-minutes per mile; I haven't run that far without walk breaks in months and months.

While I was out there, huffing along and chanting about turtles, it occured to me that I treat writing this way, too. I'm embarassed that I'm never one of those writers with three or four projects always in the works, brimming with ideas for 20 more books, writing a book in a few months, finishing in less than a year.

I wait for the one idea among tons of instantly-discarded half-formed ones that strikes me. I stew over it for a few weeks, start fleshing it out. Eventually I start writing and go until I'm finished, constantly editing and tweaking. This could take forever. Then I do more full edits until everything looks right.

I now interrupt this post for a special announcement to agents and editors: I promise I work well on deadlines, and if you were to give me a contract, I would transform into a writing hare and churn out as many novels as you want in a given timeline. Seriously. I promise.....please don't run away.

Back to our regularly scheduled post...

Typically, writing for me is a marathon and not a quick sprint. I plod along on one book and it takes a long time to get a first draft on paper. There's nothing on my side bar listing the WIPs I'm currently working on. That's because, sigh, there's only one at any given time.

Anybody else out there do the same thing? Or are you a fountain of creativity, with no less than three novels polished and ready for submission, with another four in the works? If so, how do you do it?


Anonymous said...

By the way, love the new pic. :)

Anonymous said...

Totally forgot to answer your question, btw.
It's Monday.

Anyhow, I'm a marathon runner, but even marathon (walker, for me) people gotta take a rest. Breath. Drink. Live. I'm currently breathing, drinking, and sorta living. ::checks pulse::

But yes, I hear ya.


Turtles are strong and determined and ambitious. They also stop, think and breathe.

I'm a good walker, and once in a while I like to race up hill but, never ever will I be so ambitious as to arise at five to do a "zombie-jog"!

Be well.

Duluk said...

You have Donna Tartt in your corner. She says she's okay with having just 5 books in her.

Fran said...

I am a hare with my writing, can't stop, furious speed, huge word production. But when the adrenaline wanes, I am even less active than a turtle, and I have to wait patiently for the hare to take over again. It works for me.

Anna Claire said...

Teri: rock on! That makes me feel better about turtles.

Duluk: Very interesting. I'd be honored to be in the same room as Tartt, much less in the same corner.