Writing a book is a marathon–not a sprint. So much else in life is an all-out race, this slow-and-not-so-sure reality makes most book writers feel judged for not producing immediate results.
Our cultural urgency to succeed and do it now deals writers an undue amount of shame and guilt. We’re rarely there on time to meet and greet the people prematurely gathering at the finish line.
A 90-year-old relative said to me, “People ask me what you do with all of your time. I told them, ‘I have no idea.'”
Another relative, a 23-year-old, said, “What will you do while I take my nap?”
I said, “I’ll work on my book.”
A couple of hours later, she awoke and stretched. “So, are you done with your book?”
Another friend said, “Oh, children’s books.Those are easy to pump out, aren’t they? So-and-so wrote a children’s book. If he can do it anyone can.”
That’s what I used to think.
Instant success expectations are why there are more people who want to write books than books. Writing is humbling. And if enough people think you’re taking too long or doubt you can finish the marathon, you can start to doubt it yourself.
Me? I’m sticking with the process because I know how the story ends. The tortoise wins the race–maybe skinny and battle-scarred by the sacrifice–but she/he crosses the finish line.
The pleasing ending of the Hare and the Tortoise was possible because the tortoise was at home (a state of being for us/a physical place for tortoises) doing what he/she was designed to do, yet unafraid to stick his/her head out and plod forward under the protective thick shell of faith, hope, and focus.