“The Tortoise and the Hare” is perhaps one of Aesop’s most famous fables. You may have heard about it. A tortoise and a hare have a race. The hare is ahead at first, but then his big head gets in the way, and he decides he can dawdle and finish the race later. Meanwhile, the ever-determined tortoise continues to plod along, slowly but surely. The hare takes a nap, and by the time he wakes up and completes the race, he finds the tortoise had already crossed the finish line. The lesson is “Slow and steady wins the race.”
The idea of getting 50,000 words down in a month is a lot to digest, no matter how fast or slow a typist you are. You wish to rush through the pages and have smoke come out of your fingers as you pound out 1,667-plus words per day, every day, in November.
As fast of a typist as I am, it aggravates me when I have to slow down my pace because my thoughts process can’t keep up. Sure, being able to type at 80 words per minute is beneficial, but it doesn’t mean much when you have no idea how to push the story forward.
Just now, I was able to churn out over 1,000 words, writing 500 during a 25-minute sprint, take a five-minute break, and then produce another 500 during the second 25 minutes. My fingers did not go as fast because I had to think about what to write, but being steady allowed the writing session to go more smoothly, describing the environment, what the protagonist is feeling, etc. Being in that state of mind, of enjoying the creation of a story, made for great productivity. As of this writing, by the end of the day, I had written 27,725 words.
Look, it’s okay to be the tortoise. Let your mind process the scene. Have your characters savor the setting. Let the story unravel through rather detailed, lengthy and dramatic dialogue. You don’t have to finish the novel by the end of the month. Just get past the 50,000 mark. Slow and steady does win the race, especially in NaNoWriMo.
My screen name is dorothypkr465 on NaNoWriMo.org.
Teresa Edmond-Sargeant is an Orlando, FL-based journalist, author, poet and editor. A former staff writer in North Jersey, Edmond-Sargeant won two NJ Press Association Awards and is now a reporter for The Apopka Chief, a community newspaper in Central Florida. She is the author of a poetry book “How Fate’s Confusion Connects” and three Amazon Kindle short story ebooks: “Eve the First,: A Fairy Tale Revision,” “Ethical Strains” and “An Estella Exclusive”.