“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to is keep on walking.” Buddhist saying
A few fast facts to inspire and energize us:
Jack Kerouac took notes and traveled for seven years on his epic journey, but it took him only a month to write On the Road.
Charles Dickens penned his classic A Christmas Carol in six weeks and self-published it.
Victor Hugo, best known for Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Norte Dame wrote 20 pages a day.
The story for Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr.. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde came to him in a dream and he wrote it in two weeks.
As all this suggests, when it comes to prose, anything goes. Some writers, like Dickens, wrote some of their classics quickly—and other novels took years to pen. Some took notes, like Kerouac, and others fashioned stories out of a dream or by writing 20 pages a day, like Stevenson and Hugo.
But however quickly or slowly writers write, they pace themselves: They understand their own writing rhythms and use them to best advantage. It’s not the speed that counts, it’s the momentum and the intention— the drive to keep going.
The same is true for us. By moving steadily in the right direction, we can get where we want to go. So let’s not worry about how anyone else works, let’s figure out what works for us and then keep doing it.
Once, when I was lost on my way to a bookstore in Brooklyn, I stopped and asked directions. A kindly fellow told me: “You’re on the right track. Keep going. You’ll get there.” A great mantra, as we all write on!
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