Wednesday, February 7, 2018

IWSG: Slow. Steady. Strong.


Click here for more information

In January's IWSG post, I talked about how I had two big goals for 2018, and that's where I was putting the majority of my effort and energy.

Well, for both my writing and my running goals, progress has been slower than tortoises who don't want to leave their heat lamp on a cold day. (But who can blame them? There were days this winter I wanted to crawl in with them!) Everything is taking so much longer - and is a whole lot harder - than I'd thought.

But then I remind myself that what I'm doing is building a solid foundation for my story and my health.

Slow. Steady. Strong. This is what I say when I sit down to write, when I need to figure out the logic of a major plot point before I can even get to the actual writing, when I need to cut a character I love because he no longer serves the story.

Slow. Steady. Strong. This is what I chant - ok, gasp - when I run. It's what I tell myself when I put on my sneakers, when I worry about people in passing cars laughing at me, when I don't think I can make it to the next corner.

But I'll get there. And so will you. Don't give up on your goals, your resolutions, your plans. It'll probably take a while, maybe even all year, but we can do this. It's only February, after all.

*****

What do you do when progress feels non-existent? How do you stay focused and patient? What do you tell yourself - mantras, cheers, quotes - when you need encouragement? 

*****

Don't forget to visit my wonderful co-hosts: Stephen Tremp, Pat Garcia, Angela Wooldridge, and Victoria Marie Lees.

128 comments:

  1. Slow, steady, and strong is a very good mantra. When I need encouragement, I usually talk to my husband or a friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My husband is my best friend, and he's so encouraging and supportive, while still telling me the truth. :)

      Delete
    2. Mine's the same way - he doesn't say nice things just to make me feel better, but he tells the truth about what's working and what's not with my writing in a nice way.

      Delete
    3. That's the key - honest, constructive feedback. And how lucky are we that we have that in our spouses?! :)

      Delete
    4. You are. Mine will give honest, constructive feedback, but I'm always a little afraid of it. He's just a tad Asperger's, so I am apt to get more honesty than I want!

      Delete
  2. Good post, Madeline!!! Never give up is the key, perseverance. And some days that's a hard pill to swallow. Hang in there, don't give up!! Wishing you much success. And thank you for co-hosting this month!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some days that pill is VERY hard to swallow! But we keep going, don't we? :)

      Delete
  3. Right now, I'm keeping myself motivated with a bullet journal that has a list of all my to-revise scenes. I think it's more a matter of wandering off track than lack of motivation. (I have a way of getting distracted, and forgetting exactly where I am, and that results in revising in circles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I hear you about revising in circles! I've been using Lisa Cron's STORY GENIUS book to help keep me on track during the early drafts of my WiPs. Hopefully, that will mean less revising later.

      Delete
  4. I keep pushing through even on the days I don't write much. This cold, yucky weather probably has something to do with it. But you're right, it's only February. We've got this!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm usually okay with the cold as long as the sun is shining. Of course, cold here in FL is relative - What? I can't wear sandals? :)

      Delete
  5. I like your mantra. I may have to borrow it to keep myself motivated. Currently I feel like I have too many things going at once. I'm a juggler with too many balls, none of which I can really drop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No need to borrow the mantra, you can have it. :) Take it and run with it! Or use it to help keep all those balls in the air.

      Delete
  6. Slow, steady, strong are three excellent words to describe the writing journey. My journey mirror those words too. What do I do when I feel like I'm not making progress? I write in my journal or read a book, and sometime I meditate.
    Wishing you all the best because you can do it. Walk at your own pace. That is what is important.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I, too, journal a bit and read. I struggle with meditating, but I do some deep breathing and that helps.

      Thanks for this reminder - "Walk at your own pace." I needed that. :)

      Delete
  7. You just have to remember that every small step counts.
    Thanks for co-hosting today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's just some days those steps seem really, really, really small - so small it feels like I'm standing still. But I keep going, keep trying!

      My pleasure! :)

      Delete
  8. No matter what the goal is I like to break them down into mini steps.

    For example: If my goal is to lose 10 lbs, I celebrate when I lose 1 lb--just not with chocolate cake. LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Madeline, from the past few days I'm doing a lot of freelance projects while my manuscript which I'm revising has been put on the back burner. I'm assuring myself that atleast I'm writing regularly by doing shorter assignments and will revert to my MS soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are writing regularly and that's important. Good luck with those freelance projects!

      Delete
  10. You know, I think there's less editing when you work that way--I mean at the end. More thought goes into each word. It's the more effective way to write for me as well.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Slow and steady wins the race. You're doing great. Thanks for co-hosting this month!
    Mary at Play off the Page

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Slow and steady - that's me! Okay, well definitely the "slow" part. :)

      Delete
  12. I have yet to discover a way to stay focused and patient. But I really am trying to find one.

    Best of luck to both of us on that front!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I find I can do it in bursts - shorts spans of time where I am very focused and intent. This is good, but not great, since it's very inconsistent. But it's better than nothing, I guess.

      Yes, good luck to us both!

      Delete
  13. They aren't laughing as they go past in their cars, they're thinking 'Damn, that a new years res that I still haven't gotten around to'.
    Our tortoises are hibernating in the fridge - I definitely have not felt the urge to crawl in with them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love that, Angela! Thank you! :)

      I sometimes wish our guys would hibernate. They can be rather rambunctious when they want to.

      Delete
  14. It's good to remember: even if progress is slow, it's still progress. Progress only stops when YOU stop. You're getting somewhere, just not as fast as you hoped, and that's okay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is excellent - "Progress only stops when YOU stop." Thanks for the reminder!

      Delete
  15. This year has been a total bust in terms of writing due to my illness, my kids illnesses, and their busy schedules involving the school play. Too much going on! Plus I'm having an incredibly tough time finding the voice of my character. But the story is new and it's in a genre and time-period I haven't worked with for years. So I'm going to have to slog it out somehow. The hardest part is just doing it. I'm going to have to write a bunch of horrible pages before the flow and voice get to the point they need to be. I guess my encouragement is to look at the stuff I have completely and realize I can do this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please give yourself a break - you've got a lot going on, and you need to rest up and get/keep yourself healthy. You'll get to it, you'll do it - no doubt! :)

      Delete
  16. Progress is stifled by so many things. I find it entirely to easy to put things off. For instance, I'm feeling now that I'll start to get things done when the weather improves. So yeah, it might take all year. Keep moving forward!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some things really do work better depending on the weather, the season. Running outside is a lot easier now than it will be in the summer. Then it's back to the treadmill. Ugh.

      Delete
  17. Your slow, steady and strong approach sounds perfect to me. It shows your determination, and that's exactly what it takes to write a book or to run a marathon.

    When I need a pep talk, I tell myself, "You've got this!" In other words, whether I'm facing a really tough shot on the pool table or trying to figure out a plot twist, I lie to myself. :) I figure I can fake it 'til I make it. (It usually works, too!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I "lie" to myself all the time, Susan. Until it becomes the truth. :)

      Delete
  18. I was feeling the winter blahs when I wrote my post. Reading your post (and others today) makes me feel I'm not alone and that gives me hope. Thanks for co-hosting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're not alone, Diane! We're all in this together. :)

      Delete
  19. You've got the right mind for it. Have to keep pushing, despite the deep desire to just sit down on the sidewalk and quit.

    Thanks for co-hosting today, and thank you for your encouraging words!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I've wanted to sit down on that sidewalk so. many. times. And sometimes I actually do. But I always get back up again and keep limping along. :)

      Delete
  20. That is a great mantra. And slow is sometimes the perfect speed, because you can be steady and strong while going slow. Going fast, sometimes you lose that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes I want to push myself to go faster, especially when I run, but if I do that, I know I'll hurt myself. And if I rush when writing, the story won't be as good and that's a disservice to the readers.

      Delete
  21. Every step counts. I have to tell that to myself often. Keep on pushing forward. :) Thanks for co-hosting today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every step does count, although I try not to count the ones that make me move backward. :)

      Delete
  22. Usually a little time with fellow writers re-energize me and helps my shake off the sluggishness. Winter is so dreary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great idea, Susan! In fact, I'm feeling a bit more energized hanging around everyone at the IWSG. :)

      Delete
  23. Slow. Steady. Strong. Love the mantra! I had a desert tortoise for years. He was a comfort even as he hibernated beneath my credenza. His attitude taught me a lot about all that is gained with patience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These guys (redfoots) have a lot of energy, more than I thought tortoises would - or should! - have. Hmm, maybe they think they're really dogs? :o

      Delete
  24. Patience is something I work on all the time. When I'm impatient, my writing almost goes in reverse, and then I go mad. Thanks for doing a great post as co-host today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is so true about the writing going in reverse! It's like if you rush it, you end up making more mistakes then have to spend more time fixing them, revising even more.

      Delete
  25. "slower than tortoises who don't want to leave their heat lamp on a cold day"--oh that is a keeper

    ReplyDelete
  26. I used to write more at night, but during these cold winter nights it's hard not to think about curling up in a nice warm bed and just reading someone else's book.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG bloghop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I curl up with someone else's book every night, and if it's not cold enough to feel cozy then I put on the air conditioner. :)

      Delete
  27. That's a good mantra. I usually have to step back and reassess when it feels like I'm not making progress. I find out that I'm trying to do too much and it ends up stalling me, so I pick one thing to focus on and that gets me going again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's why I only picked two big goals to focus on this year. I just hope that it's not one too many!

      Delete
  28. Okay, I'm going to have to read all these responses in hopes of finding the magic key to focus, because I don't have any just now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely check out all the comments! These guys are an inspiring bunch. I'm lucky to have them as readers/followers. :)

      Delete
  29. I tend to be most productive when I don't look any further ahead than the day's goal. I tend to get overwhelmed and frustrated when I see how far still I need to go.
    Or I just make a dash for the secret chocolate stash.
    yeah, mostly secret chocolate stash

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know that overwhelmed and frustrated feeling all too well. Sigh.

      I think I need a secret chocolate stash...but I need to keep it a secret from myself or else I'll eat. it. all. :)

      Delete
  30. I don't have a mantra, although that sounds like a very good idea. I'll have to find one that encourages me to keep trying. Thanks for co-hosting this month!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I'm a big fan of mantras and as a former swimmer, mine is often "Just keep swimming". Writing is such an adventure in perseverance. Thanks for being a cohost!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love this phrase - "...an adventure in perseverance." :)

      Delete
  32. I like your chant. It's a good one that I may use if you don't mind. Staying focused is a difficult one for me. I'm constantly getting disrupted by things or people in my life. I just try to stick with little goals - that helps but I wish it was faster. Thanks for co-hosting this month.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Feel free! I hope it works for you. :)

      I hear you! It feels like I get knocked off track very easily anymore, especially by other people, especially emotionally.

      Delete
  33. Slow, steady, strong sounds pretty good to me. I get nervous when I see the days (and years) slipping by and still no published book in sight, however then I say to myself, "Well, if I wasn't doing this, what would I be doing with my time?" There aren't many other things that interest me the way reading and writing does.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you re time slipping by. My husband always says that if nothing else, I can know that I lived my life going after my dreams, doing something I loved. :)

      Delete
  34. I like "Slow. Steady. Strong." Perfect way to approach writing! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thanks for co-hosting today, Madeline! Kudos to you for tackling your health as well as your writing. I keep telling myself "next step, next step" or "keep walking." Those two mantras have propelled me through all sorts of life situations, including getting writing. Enjoy today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Next step, next step" really does work. I've also used "Only a few more steps then you can have a cookie." :)

      Delete
  36. Great mantra. I do use mantra or affirmation for lots of things not just my writing. Great post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My mind isn't what it used to be so I need one or two mantras to cover everything, if possible. :)

      Delete
  37. Wow - we're on the same karma train. I developed a soft-tissue injury on my left foot two weeks ago and it does not look like I am going to make my April 7th half marathon. And writing right now is slower than Larry and Mrs. Larry as I am wrapping up the day job. Your mantra is right on - slow, steady, strong. And those people in the cars? If they're runners, they're not laughing, they're cheering. If they're not runners, we don't care what they think.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lee, I'm sorry to hear about your injury! That stinks about missing the half marathon!

      Hopefully our writing progress will soon be as speedy as the tortoises going after some basil. :)

      Delete
  38. Slow and steady wins the race! Progress is progress.

    "Stop freaking out!" is probably the mantra I most often tell myself, hehe.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I needed to hear this. Thank you for the encouragement and inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I don't have a mantra - I'm stealing yours! Love it! Good luck on both goals. Keep repeating those words and you'll do it. I have faith!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Thanks for co-hosting this month. I love your tortoise reference. Slow - Steady - Strong sounds like a good plan. I think that's where I am at the moment.

    ReplyDelete
  42. slow and steady is a great way to go - i wish i had more patience, then i might get it right the first time and not have to do it over or fix it!

    thanks for always stopping by my place =) we can encourage each other to keep at it - you impress me with the running, i'm taking it slow with that on my treadmill set at 2.5 =D

    happy february!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't clock my speed - do they make an instrument that measures basically standing still? :o I focus more on distance, like from one corner to another is .25 miles, etc.

      You keep going on the treadmill! As soon as it gets too hot to run outside, that's where I'll be, too.

      Delete
  43. I was kicking butt last month, but have slowed this month. I'm giving myself a pass on writing new short stories until I've got this collection ready to go to print. Good luck to you with your goals. I figure as long as you continue steadily forward one way or another, you're doing great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did the same regarding not writing new stories this month. I wrote/revised/subbed a few last month, and I found it took away from my novella/novel work a bit. Of course, I say I won't write more but I probably still will - can't resist! :)

      Delete
  44. I love your mantra, Madeline!
    Step by step, word by word... the story WILL grow.
    I have all the patience in the world, so that part isn't a problem for me.
    A toast to us tortoises... we are slow, steady but strong.
    Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG this month.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If only you could bottle and sell some of that patience, Michelle! We could drink it like an energy drink. Or more like the opposite of an energy drink? :)

      Delete
  45. Slow, steady, strong is a great mantra (and alliteration). Usually tell myself that what I write doesn't have to be perfect as long as I write something. Whether if it's 10 or 100 words, those words mean something. Progress.
    Thanks for co-hosting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't help myself - I like alliteration. :)

      And yes on progress!

      Delete
  46. Good for you for reminding yourself that slow progress is still progress. In Wilderness Medicine, there's a saying: Slow is steady and steady is fast. It basically means that when we slow down and work carefully, we reach solutions faster than if we rush forward recklessly and end up making mistakes. Thanks for the post, and happy writing to you. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy, I love that about Wilderness Medicine! Thanks so much for sharing it. It makes so much sense.

      And happy writing to you, too!

      Delete
  47. Slow. Steady. Strong. Those words ring true for so many things in life. I keep reading that writing a book is not a sprint, but a marathon. And, I guess the same could be said - literally - about your running.

    As writers, we are thinkers, but we are also antsy to start writing. First things first... You will get there! Once that foundation has been laid, the rest will come, maybe even as a sprint! Thanks for co-hosting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You mean I'm "running" two marathons?! Sheesh! What was I thinking? :)

      I really am antsy to get started on the actual writing, but I'm still working on the foundation so...sigh.

      Delete
  48. Great advice, important to remember - anyway, speed is subjective, what's slow to one person can feel like a sprint to another. (I'm talking about the running, particularly, I'm the slowest 'sprinter' you'll ever see :-))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You really have to look closely to see that I'm actually moving when I'm "running." I'm pretty sure the cows in the nearby field are rolling their eyes as I moooove past. :)

      Delete
  49. Just keep moving forward, that's what I tell myself. Even if I can only write a few words a day or if I can only read a few paragraphs after work, that's still progress. Once you know the destination, it's easy to track forward momentum. As long as the movement is pushing you towards your goals, you're making progress!

    Thank you for co-hosting!
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm getting better at figuring out the destination first. It definitely helps. :)

      Delete
  50. I agree with you - things have been moving slowly since the beginning of the new year. My advice is "don't beat yourself up. Tomorrow is another day." Now, if I could put that into practice, it would be awesome. Good luck with your 2018 goals. Thanks for co-hosting this month's topic. http://www.dianeweidenbenner.com/iwsg-what-do-you-love-about-the-genre-you-write-in-most-often/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you about putting good advice into practice. If only it was that easy! :)

      Delete
  51. Never give up, Madeline. We all need pep talks now and then. ...Okay...I need pep talks now and then. You can do this. Think about what you are creating. Have a plan. Move forward even if you only crawl. Thanks for co-hosting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we all need pep talks sometimes! :)

      After the running I did today, I feel like all I can do is crawl. Ugh.

      Delete
  52. Hi Madeline. Keep it up. You are doing awesome.
    When I struggle I try to do two things: take a realistic assessment of my progress (because usually I am making progress even though it doesn't feel like it) and to remember to enjoy the journey.
    As long as we keep moving forward that is all that really matters. Of course, that said I might steal your mantra.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think stepping back and taking a realistic look at what we're doing, what we've done, is a very good idea.

      Steal away! :)

      Delete
  53. Great motto: "Slow. Steady. Strong." We should all adopt it for our writing and our lives too.
    Thank you for co-hosting this month, Madeline.

    ReplyDelete
  54. "Slow. Steady. Strong. Building a solid foundation for my story and my health...." Your words really stood out. This last year or so my energy is focused on my husband's health struggles.

    I stimulate my love for writing by running a local writers' group. Commenting on your post and those of others during IWSG monthly Blog Hop offers an opportunity to express my thoughts in writing.

    So I guess to answer your question, as long as I do something, I'm reassured I will write more as my time and energy allows.

    Thank you for co-hosthing this month. It's a pleasure to meet you. http://la-vita.us/Write/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds to me like you are doing the best you can. Hang in there! Sending good thoughts for improved health for your husband.

      Delete
  55. When I get stuck, I go back to my timeline and figure out where my characters should be and what they should be doing. Sometimes I’ll work backward through the story and try to figure out what has to happen to bring me to that point in the story. That sometimes helps as well.

    ReplyDelete
  56. That's a good approach to take. I can be a bit rubbish at writing steadily over time, but its something that I try to do.

    David Stringer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We all have to find the way that works best for us. :)

      Delete
  57. I try to tell myself that everything has a season. There are droughts, and there are thunderous rainstorms, and I am oh-so-slowly learning to go with the flow of my life and my art.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with the idea of seasons - some projects are better suited for certain times of the year, for certain periods of our lives. Not forcing things is definitely a calmer, more peaceful way to go. :)

      Delete
  58. I like that mantra, Madeline, I think I might need to adopt that approach too this year. I find that rushing means you end up making mistakes as well. Good luck on your continued journey! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do tend to make mistakes when I'm not more methodical.

      Thanks!

      Delete
  59. I like the idea of slow steady and strong. Much better than rushing through it and getting it wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  60. The thing about being a writer is self motivation. I can't count on someone else motivating me to put words on screen/paper, so I have to count on myself. Having the duel goals of writing and running I think will help because the one can influence the other and you must be self motivated to do both! Go for it! And thanks for co-hosting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am motivated, but sometimes that motivation flags, and I need a reminder, a boost, like I get from all of you. :)

      Delete
  61. Slow, steady strong is a wonderful mantra! It's so easy to be hard on ourselves. And working on both my writing/illustrating and building my health my 2 biggest goals this year. But I often feel that I'm not doing enough. But remembering--one step at a time, even little steps is progress. Thanks for sharing this and for co-hosting #IWSG, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like we're on similar tracks, Susan. I often feel like I'm not doing enough either, but I think that's where it gets tricky because how much IS enough?

      Delete