Three Roads to Choose


This was quite a week for me!

After a month and getting only 4 chapters of my novel, Rising, edited (I have 23 altogether), I turned up the gas and finished three in two days. I had planned on keeping this torrid pace until I finished the remaining 13 chapters, but I underestimated how often I could read the same passages.

I'm at a crossroads. In one direction is peaceful feelings and easy goings. In the other direction is hard work and a desperate need to have my novel finished and published.

Perfectionism versus a sloth.

It's hard to see, for the two roads are well traveled, but there is another path between these two, with brambles and trees grown upon it. If the first path leads away from the mountain, the second climbs its face, and this third meanders slowly, but surely, around the mountain's base.

It's the road the tortoise would take. Slow and steady wins the race.

Though the sign has fallen, it has not rotted away. I can still lift it from the ground and read what it says.

“Make Haste Slowly.”

On this path one must watch for low branches and tall burs. Part of the road is washed away, and where the ancient stones remain they are slick with moss. It is not level, but gradually climbs upwards, and then down again. It is not straight, but twists and turns wildly, as if teetering.

The first road merely bends around to the beginning, for you to stare at the choices again, to take it easy, to take it hard, or to take the secretive path. The second road ends at utter exhaustion, for the mountain is forever and the only way down is to fall.

Along the Middle Way you will find fulfillment. You will have traveled carefully enough to appreciate the view, hard enough to build an inner strength, and slow enough to conserve some of your natural vitality.

It's not always easy to know what the right amount of work is. I've continued to be productive this month, yet I've wandered twice now from the Middle Way. Once to the easy path, and when coming back around, making the mistake of climbing the mountain.

It's not that there isn't something on the mountain, or away from it, but I seek something specific far around the bend of stone, hugging close to the cliffs yet not ascending them.

It could be balance, or it could be the path itself.

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24 Responses to Three Roads to Choose

  1. Writing and editing are difficult paths to follow in any case. But always to take the middle way in most things in life is the best; do not go to either extreme but be moderate. I did hear some advice from the conference I attended; the instructor said that it really is best to write out the whole book or script first (just spit it all out) before going back and editing. His reasoning was the fact that most of us will knit-pick and self-doubt too much and this will effect the rest of the story. His thoughts were that we need to get out the main story, then go back and edit it. I kind of do this one I suppose, but a writer has to do what he/she finds is most comfortable for himself/herself. If you are fine with the way you are working and it works for you, then that is great! There is no magic formula (though we wish there were) to writing; each person is different and has to find what works best for them in order to be more productive and to produce quality work. Good luck with your writing, JR, and do take the middle road so you can still stop and smell the roses! Take care!

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    1. I wrote it out before editing, then rewrote it at least twice, rewriting some parts even more :D

      I totally agree with this information. Thank you!

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  2. J.R. What a gorgeous post on writing. I think the middle path is for me, although I am prone to extremes;)

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  3. “Make Haste Slowly.”

    What else can I say after reading that.

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    1. Hobbits, due to their short legs and stride, always make haste slowly.

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  4. Beautiful! Thank you for your gift of words and thought. This is sage advise for much more than editing. I will take your advise today and do my best to make haste slowly as I build wonderful things along my path.

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    1. Sow many seeds and take the time to watch them grow :)

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  5. As you know I too tend to extremes, but the perfectionist is never satisfied and the sloth never gets done, the middle trail is the most productive and the best learning experience. I love your path descriptions, very visual and now I must go out and find those moss covered rocks to slip on....great post .

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    1. "the perfectionist is never satisfied and the sloth never gets done"...that's beautifully said!

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  6. I feel like I am taking the sloth way. But it's life getting in the way and an old bald man can only fit so much in a day!

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    1. You do things more important than writing, too, so you get a get out of jail free card ;)

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  7. Be wary of the hasty way for that is the way where you may as well wear blinders. The way of the turtle has it's hazards too in that you may not be able to see the mountain for all the blades of grass obscuring the view. The way of the casual jogger is by far the best. Not only long term endurance is achieved, but there's always time to take in the scenery.

    Happy writing.

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  8. Beautiful, JR.I'm attempting to take the middle path these days and loving it.

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    1. Thank you, Corrine :)

      We'll attempt together!

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  9. I think I should learn to go to the middle. Thank you for teaching me this lesson today, JR. :-)

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    1. You're welcome, Irene. I hope you can!

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  10. Beautiful post...the middle path seems more promising.

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    1. I try to look at it without expectations. "It is what it is." But totally, it's more promising! :P

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  11. Loved this post...it reminded me much of what the Buddha had to say about taking the middle path. Beautifully written. I'm looking forward to your book when you finish it! :)

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  12. Yes, the "Middle Way" is best. We never do our best work, writing or editing, when we are out of balance with ourselves.
    Wonderful reflection on the process of writing/editing, J.R. !

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