What’s a writer to do?
We keep writing, whenever and wherever we can. We prepare our thoughts for the next scene while we’re driving to and from work. We edit while we’re waiting for our son to come out of the doctor’s office. I keep thinking about the story of the tortoise and the hare. All my friends are the rabbits, speeding past me, progressing toward the finish line, though unlike the hare, without criticism and with great success of their own. I, however, take one methodical step after another toward the goal, and the finish line is nowhere in sight. I have to remind myself the tortoise eventually crosses the finish line, even before the hare, though in my case, after my speedy friends publish several of their books. That’s okay. I can look at my progress and say I plodded away at the course every day. I feel confident in the effort I have put forth.
My slow thrust forward frustrates me at times, and I have to imagine myself at the other end of the track, leaning into the ribbon, letting it flow behind me as I finish the race. Frustration never did a writer any good. It places obstacles in the path and blocks focus. Still those feelings are real, and if I can invent ways to stay positive and productive, I increase my ability to succeed. I have to revel in my victories, celebrate the forty pages I wrote over the weekend to lessen the sting of placing dead last.
Maybe some of you are struggling to win the same kind of writing races. I’d like to hear how you put your negative energy to a more constructive use. We know the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong…but time and chance happen to them all. (Ecclesiates 9:11) And whether time and chance indulge us with favor or not, it’s how and that we finish the race that really matters in the end.