I Grow Slow

Filed under: Pondering, The Opposite of Gravity, Writing, Writing Style, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Last Thursday I went for a run–a seven mile run to be exact. If you’re not a runner you’re probably wondering why the heck I would do such a thing. (I used to look at runners and roll my eyes too) But that changed. Now I like to pound the pavement for a lot of reasons–it allows me to eat lots of chocolate and still fit into my pants. I like the feeling of being physically spent after a workout. I enjoy the head space and the way my mind just wanders and explores things.  It’s also a big stress relief. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that I mostly have fake stress. No one is dying in my family right now, my debut novel is being published in October, my kids are healthy and happy. I’m good. Real stress is the fear of losing your home, the inability to put food on the table, illness or death knocking on your door. I do not have that in my life right now–so I am not complaining.

But there is a certain reality that we all live in. We view the world through our own daily filters. So, while I try very hard to keep my life in perspective, there are days when the laundry piling up or a car needing to be serviced can just turn me into a hump head. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t growl when they purchase something new, only to get home and find it broken in the box. It is the reality of the life we live in–some days go better than others. Some moments have more stress. Lately I’ve had two things that tend to upset my apple cart. The one I’m going to talk about now is my work in progress. Writing the second book is hard. So I run.


In general, I run and “write.” I’m not a note taker or an outliner by nature. I’m a runner–a mental plotter. As move my feet–I manipulate the story in my head. I twist it and bend it. I ask it questions. I wonder what my characters are saying to me. I listen to music and marvel at the deep thoughts that other artists have presented to the world through their lyrics. I take all the individual ingredients that I use to make up a story and I simmer them and try to make good soup.

I also run because I’m afraid of how slow I grow. I try to outrun my nerves.

I write books in a way that is very organic to me. I actually like my process, now that I’ve grown to understand it and appreciate it. But my way of doing things takes time. I don’t just “write” a book for readers. I create what I need to grow my own soul–to navigate the landscape of my life. Some days it feels less like building something new and more like unraveling a giant, knotted ball of string. It’s me trying to make sense of something that might choke me if it’s left in that chaotic condition. To me, writing a book is a beautiful journey. But the catch is that I’m not just an observer to this process, I’m pulling all the same threads that my characters are tugging at too. I’m growing and changing right along with them. It has saved my life, but some days it is a slower process than I would like. It’s hard to admit that I grow slow.

Thursday I was running because my agent was reading part of my manuscript and I didn’t know if she would find me between the words. I wasn’t sure if their were more questions than answers entangled in the lines.  I believe in my stories. I know the OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY is what I need to be writing and it will be beautiful when it’s finished–but I worry that I grow too slow. Some days I think that the world might be willing to wait for what I have to say–if I take the time to get it right. Other days I think that’s hubris. Until I know for sure–I’ll have to keep running.

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6 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. I think it’s lovely that you’ve figured out your own writing process and you’re running with it. And don’t worry if it seems slow. Whatever works!

    • Thanks for the nod of support. I figure I write a lot better when I do it that way so I should go for it! <3

  2. I blame you (and a few other tweeters) for making me want to take up running as soon as my hamstring/whatever gets better!

    This is so pretty- I love how you describe your writing process. I also think that it’s more important to go slow and grow along with your characters than to race and backtrack. As a reader, I can feel when an author pours herself into her manuscript versus churning out pages for the sake of getting another book out the door. I appreciate slow growth!

    • Thank you for noticing…it makes the insanity of the process a little easier. <3

  3. I have been a VERY slow learner myself, Kim, so you are not alone! 😉

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