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The Tortoise vs. The Hare

Go faster. Do more.

And do it all now.


I’ve lost track of how many books, or articles, or workshops I’ve consumed that have this is as their central theme. Write a book in a week. Hammer out ten thousand words a day. Type till your fingers bleed. (Do you even write, bro?)


I get the allure.


Publishing—indie publishing especially—is a business that benefits the prolific. New releases get attention, and backlists build stability. So it’s understandable to reason that huge daily word counts will translate to lots of books.


Except, for me at least, it’s never worked that way.


Like the old fable, I get all excited at the starting line of a project and take off at the sound of the starting pistol. Just like the hare, I go as fast as I can. My word counts start flying by.


5k

10k

15k


But then something happens. Just like in the fable, I get tired. I can’t keep sprinting so hard for so long.


I take a break. Just a day. Maybe a weekend. But then again, a three day weekend is so nice.


Suddenly, I’m struggling to break inertia and get back in the groove. But now those five thousand word days seem so daunting, and reading over what I’ve already written is killing my morale. It’s too raw. I know I’ll have to throw half of it away in revisions.


That’s how the book that I’d thought would take a month to write, turns into a four or five-month slog.


Now, I know there are plenty of people out there who are natural Hares. And that’s wonderful. Really. If you can get up and sprint towards the finish line day after day, then more power to you. I stand in awe.


But, I’ve finally come to understand that I can’t.


That’s why I’ve decided to become a tortoise.


Now, I know at first it can seem like deciding to become the tortoise is giving up on a prolific career. But it’s not. Remember, the moral of the story: it’s our slow and steady friend wins the race.


Being the tortoise is about knowing the difference in strategy between a long distance run and a sprint.


It’s about finding your pace, what you can realistically accomplish in a day or week, and committing to making it a reality. It’s knowing that time grows incremental gains into massive accomplishments. It’s getting back up when you fall. It’s about believing in—instead of berating—yourself.


If you’re interested, Feel free to strap on your (metaphorical) shoes and meet us at the starting line for your Year to Write Hella Words.

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It sounds like an easy question, right? But is it? Really? When you say that you’re going to write hella words next year, exactly which words are you talking about? First draft words? Revision words?

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