Craft, Fiction, Marketing, My Books, Novel, Promotion, Publish, Writing

Do you write like a tortoise or a hare?

May was a stressful month for me. The fun and excitement of self-publishing my first novel the month before had worn off, and I was hard at work. I spent the month working daily to promote my book in various ways, which is a requirement for all authors, no matter how their books were published.

All that time, I kept reading how important it is to get my next book ready for publication. The gurus say that the secret to great sales for indie authors is to fill a “shelf” with your books. The more books you have to offer, the more your fans will buy.

In traditional publishing, it usually takes at least a year and a half from the time an editor buys your book to the day it hits the bookstore shelves. That means you have a good amount of time to write and polish your next book. Traditional publishing suits a tortoise writer.

I think self-publishing works best for hares. If true, this is bad news for me. I’m a tortoise. I’m writing again. I’m working on the next book. But it will be awhile before it’s ready to publish. I don’t write fast or I should say, I don’t write well fast.

That frustrated me. In fact, I was so stressed, I couldn’t write at all. I thought the problem stemmed from what I was writing, so I switched to something else—something I thought I could write faster. That only made matters worse. I wanted to write, but I didn’t want to write that. I wanted to write, but I didn’t want to think about publication for a while.

Now, I’m writing what I want to. This new novel will take a while to be publish-ready. Not as long as The Brevity of Roses did, but it will take several months, at least. This time, the hare will win the race. I’m all right with that. I’ll cross the finish line eventually.

Which kind of writer are you … tortoise or hare?

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31 thoughts on “Do you write like a tortoise or a hare?”

  1. Hmm, I think I’m a bit of both. It depends on what I’m writing. If it’s something that has complete control of me then I’m a hare. I have one novel I’ve been working on since October and I still have yet to complete the rough draft.

    I am definitely a tortoise when it comes to editing. There’s no doubt about that. I go through it so many times looking at different aspects each time, that I wonder if I’ll ever finish.

    Good luck with the new project. I’m sure it’ll be wonderful. 🙂


    1. Oh, Heather, I’m so hoping I will soon be in a hare phase with “something that has complete control of me”. That did happen to me with Brevity, so I probably gave the wrong impression in my post. I’m ready to be whisked away like that again. Hear me, Muse? 😉

      And thank you. Wonderful is my goal. 🙂


  2. I think I would be a hare if it weren’t for the fact I’m only a very part time writer 😉 Once the kids are in school I might be a hare again. At the moment, definitely a tortoise.


  3. Depends. I can be a hare writer when the story’s stuck in my head and all the sentences are already perfectly constructed–usually these are creative non-fiction stories because I know all the background details about myself and the event I want to write about already. I lived it. With fiction though, I’m definitely a tortoise because I don’t know the characters as well and the plot is less set in stone.


    1. Welcome, Hannah, and thank you for commenting. 🙂

      Although there were some surprises in writing Brevity, I did write a lot of it as though I had “lived” it. I haven’t had enough quiet time with this book to get to that stage, so I understand what you mean. Thanks for reminding me that I need to find that quiet. If I do, maybe I’ll be able to write more like a hare and less like a tortoise.


  4. Sometimes I am a hare when I write something reasonably short. I can also be a hare when I first start a book, then I slow to a tortoise. So I’m a little of both.


    1. Thanks for reading, mairedubtx, and taking the time to leave a comment. 🙂 From the responses today that seems to be the norm. It’s the natural rhythm to have an ebb and flow, I guess.


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