I was driving my son to guitar lessons and racing to get him there on time. I got behind a car that was going less than 25 mph in a 40 zone (of course).
“Can you go any slower?” I called.
The car seemed to slow down even more (if that were possible), almost as if the driver had heard me.
My son smirked the way only 14-year-olds can.
My lead foot started to go into convulsions from having to let up on the gas pedal. “Come on,” I whined. “Can’t you see we’re in a hurry?”
I’m sure it comes as no surprise to realize that I tackle most things in life with drive, speed, and determination. And apparently, those traits carry over into getting my son to guitar lessons.
Once I finally maneuvered around the snail-paced car, I glanced in my review mirror. And as I quickly put distance between myself and the slow driver, I couldn’t keep from noticing the woman’s serene expression.
She was obviously enjoying her ver-ry slo-ow ride. She didn’t mind crawling along and didn’t appear to be noticing the other cars (like mine) that were zipping past her.
As I thought about the incident, I was reminded that just because I like going fast, doesn’t mean everyone else will. Some people are perfectly content to mosey along.
We’re all moving at different paces and that’s okay—in life and in writing. We don’t all have to go at FAST. In fact, sometimes I wonder if those of us who are zipping along have a more difficult time with having patience, savoring life, and being content.
I admit, I fall into the trap of envying those ahead of me on the road, seeing how fast they’re going, watching all that’s happening to them, and wishing I was driving right alongside them. It’s so easy to look around at what everyone else is doing and think I need to be doing more, need to be moving quicker in order to keep in the race.
And sometimes, perhaps I even make others feel like they’re not doing enough, that they should be keeping up with what I’m doing, that they’re too far behind. While I would never do this intentionally, I’m sure that does happen occasionally. (And if I’ve ever made you feel that way, I sincerely apologize!)
Is the writing journey really a race? Do we all have to be running as hard as we can after publication and success? Or do we need to settle into a pace that is uniquely ours?
Just because some writers can write 1000 words in an hour, doesn’t mean I have to. Just because some writers can pump out multiple books in one year, doesn’t mean I have to. Just because some writers blog every day doesn’t mean I have to.
The point is our lives and our writing journeys are each unique.
I can’t spend my time trying to keep up with other authors with all their marketing efforts, with how many books they’re writing, and all of the other things they’re doing.
And others can’t think that they need to keep up with all that I’m doing.
We each have to take the time to figure out our own writing journeys and what works for us in our unique situations.
One of the things that has helped me keep my writing journey in perspective is that I’ve written out the various steps of my path to publication. Incidentally, when we speak with book groups or organizations, we’ll likely need to write out our journey anyway. Just last week I spoke to a women’s group and gave a 45-minute power point presentation, which included sharing about my writing journey.
I highly recommend taking the time to write down what sparked our interest in writing, who or what influenced us most, along with all the setbacks and accomplishments that have led to where we’re at today. Readers will want to know.
Aside from having a succinct, well-written and entertaining description of our writing journey to share with readers, when we take the time to examine where we’ve been and where we are now, it helps remind us just how unique we are.
Don’t let others determine YOUR pace. You decide whether you need to go at a crawl, baby steps, a pleasant stroll, or a sprint. The pace isn’t as important as much as the fact that we don’t stop moving forward. When we keep up our momentum no matter how fast or slow, we’ll get where we want to go eventually.
“It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgment.” ~Cicero
So what about you? Are you trying too hard to keep up with those around you instead of going at the pace that works best for you?