Are You a Marathon Writer or a Sprinter?

by Tim Kane

When I started writing I was a sprinter. I wanted to publish right now. Immediately. No waiting. Thank God ebooks and self publishing didn’t exist in the late 80s and early 90s, or I personally would have flooded the market. I did work on a zine, where a friend and I produced many of the stories. Usually this involved creating various pseudonyms.

As I progressed to screenplays and novels, I still yearned for that instant publication. It took time to see writing as marathon and not a sprint. The shift in viewpoint has allowed me to accomplish many things that sprinters can’t.

Sprinters tire after a few runs. Marathon writers keep going. Mile after mile. Page after page. Sprinters view each run as a race with a finish line. Marathon writers see each day as another trek toward a goal (even if it takes years to reach it). I recall that I would go most of the week not writing, and then sprint through a multi-hour session on the weekend. (Sound familiar anyone?) This accomplished nothing. Like a pianist that only practices once a week, all you learn is to hate your practices.

As I started writing daily, the sprinter in me still raised his competitive head. When I missed a day writing, my guilt would eat me up. Now I know that my ultimate goal is a great manuscript. Sometimes a certain day won’t be a writing day. If I’m exhausted, what good is it to sit in front of the computer and pass out? Other than a line of random letters and an impression of the keyboard on my forehead (actually happened folks).

As a professional writer of fiction, you owe it to yourself to slow down. Look at writing as a journey of years, not a race of days.


About Tim Kane

Tim Kane is a young adult fiction writer.
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