Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Quick and The Dead

The Quick and the Dead is probably one of my favorite phrases ever. Growing up in a National Park gave me a skewed perspective on a lot of things. One of the major ones is that the literal version of that phrase was right up my ally. If you aren’t quick, you’re dead. I know what it actually means- it’s an almost literal translation of Living and Dead. But I think my kid mind might have been onto something that my adult self has taken so long to learn.

Some days I feel like I’m running ahead of a giant bolder of required tasks that will mow me down if I stop for too long. My own version of natural selection. If I can’t do it right the first time or fix it quickly a project gets abandoned. I’ve done that with big life things and small daily tasks. But it’s a really bad way to write a novel.

Sure life can move quickly, but never slowing down means that a lot of things are good enough, not good. By giving up and moving on a little too often I have a dozen started life goals, and hardly a single finished one. Luckily I’ve had people to point out to me how important it is to let go of denial. To stop believing that bad choices don’t have consequences. But that’s all deep dark personal stuff. The important fact for this blog is that I have a tendency at a certain point in the middle of a novel to throw up my hands and walk away. The novel gets hard, something comes up that makes me mad, or I just get bored. Then I go back to old project or some side thing. I tool around on something I can’t change and use it as an excuse to find something else to do with my time.

Here’s the thing. Slow and steady does sometimes when the race. I’ve been at this writing gig for a long time and I don’t have a lot to show for it. But I’m a better writer today then I was ten years ago. Or a year ago. Or even last week. I might not be quick about this whole getting published thing, but I am doing it. One step at a time. I finally feel ready to dig deep into a story. To not be overwhelmed by the work it takes to turn a flawed 1st draft into a readably MS.

That doesn’t mean I’m abandoning the old ways completely. Adaptability can be a great trait in the right place. It just shouldn’t be the only one I use. I’m learning that everything is a tool in my toolbox, and it’s my choice which one I use.


  1. Typed a long comment and Blogger ate it. The short of it is this: find the writing system that works for you, slow or fast, and that's when the magic will happen :)

  2. Glad that you're working out a plan for yourself, we all need them!