Are you a Hare or a Tortoise in your writing?

The Hare and the Tortoise

Some writers are hares. They are either fortunate or blessed with amazing talent to write a best seller first time or they go haring off in search of success. A writer’s race is an individual one. Of course the eyes of the world see us competing with each other to win prizes and fame too but do we see ourselves that way?

To my way of thinking writing is lifelong journey. Each good review, acceptance letter, positive feedback given by word of mouth, twitter, e mail, letter, facebook or any other way boosts our feeling of self worth. Today I was contacted by a ladies group wanting me to give a talk and share my experiences and the background to my writing. This request lifted my spirits to an unexpected high.

Of course, like any person writing to share in the public arena you have to harden yourself against the knocks as well. Rejections and criticism are part and parcel of the experience but listening and learning from others can be empowering too. Being prepared to adjust, amend, rewrite or even change direction are also skills we need to hone or even acquire; but sometimes we need to stand firm and accept that people have differing opinions.

With technology opening up a world of communicating to your audience in a way unheard of even ten years ago it is still possible to be a hare, but it is also quite satisfying being a tortoise, gradually building up an audience both virtually and in the real world. Being a tortoise also has the advantages of learning to value feedback but also to learn from it along to way.

I recently read in a Writer’s magazine of someone who was an apprentice writer for several years and only when he had strived to reach perfection did he open his work to the world. My question to him is ‘How did you know that you had reached the one? Are you sure that one of your earlier works would not have been enjoyed equally by your now avid readers?

No, I’m quite happy to be a tortoise. As long as people genuinely enjoy my writing and are interested in what I have to say I will share it.  I’m also sure  that the tortoise appreciates every moment of his experience in the race, taking time to acknowledge the world around him. His limbs may ache with effort at times but how satisfying it is when he reaches his goal(or each individual goal)?


Filed under Marketing your novel, Writing, Writing a novel

3 responses to “Are you a Hare or a Tortoise in your writing?

  1. Interesting point, If you’re ambitious, there are times the marketplace will force a hare (me) into tortoise-like behavior, if your proposal is rejected. I’m working on the proposal for what I hope will be my 3rd NF book, and I know I am deliberately going slowly for fear of it being rejected. Yet, once I am committed to a book with an advance and publisher, it’s hare-time. I’m a career journo so able to write very quickly.

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