Moving Forward Slowly is Still Moving Forward

We all remember the story of the tortoise and hare. They both had the goal of crossing the finish line but the tortoise won because he simply kept moving while the hare stopped and goofed off, believing that he could make up for lost time later. Lately my own work has felt a lot like the story of the tortoise and the hare, except I’m playing both parts. There have been days during this whole COVID thing where my inner hare wins. On those days I find myself saying dumb things like “I’ll have more time tomorrow” or “I’ll wake up early and get this thing done.” Neither of which happen.

Photo by Ludvig Hedenborg on Pexels.com

Then, there are the days where my far more sensible inner tortoise wins. I know what my goal is and that taking small consistent steps, no matter how broken up they are, will bring me closer to reaching that goal than not taking the steps at all. It’s these days that make all the difference in the long run.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had plenty of crazy inner hare days where I do end up in a dead sprint towards a goal I’ve procrastinated on. This type of rush feels icky and the work that comes out of it is less than great. At the end of a spring I am exhausted and often can’t bring myself to do any sort of work towards the goal for days, if not weeks, afterward.

Looking back, taking the tortoise approach makes much more sense. Maybe there is only fifteen minutes to spare in that space between lunch and a meeting. Maybe it’s a half hour before bed, or right as you wake up. Using these small chunks of time might not feel like much, but as the work they produce accumulates, these small efforts can really add up.

Another perk of having a tortoise mentality is that it helps you seek opportunities that you might not consider otherwise. If you are always waiting for that perfect evening, or that free weekend to work towards your goal, it might never happen. On the other hand, if you are content with the small pockets of time you can find, you stand a much better chance of getting things done.

Dean Wesley Smith has famously talked about the idea that you should always set optimistic goals with the drive to get as close as you can to reaching them. He talks about it at length in his article Failure Must Be An Option. He says the only way to move forward is to try, and fail, and try again, over and over. This forces us to lose the hesitation of trying something new, or doing something that frightens us. Growing requires trying lots of things and failing as many times as it takes before we learn. Failure is an option, quitting is not.

Often those of us who haven’t quite figured out how to reach our goal will look on those who do and how easy it looks. It’s like watching a professional ice skater, they make ice skating look so effortless and dreamlike that it seems as natural as breathing. What we don’t see is all the hundreds of times they’ve fallen and the thousands of hours it took to get to where they are.

One of the best quotes to come out of Indiana Jones is, “It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage”. It’s not time that grants us the experience we need to finish a big goal, it’s sitting down and doing the work and being willing to mess up and fail from time to time.

So, when the days feel like they are crawling by and you aren’t making much progress, remember the tortoise the hare. Lots of little efforts still add up and being willing to try matters.

You got this.


Stonebearer’s Apprentice

Book #2 in the Shadow Barrier Trilogy

Ebook preorders start NEXT FRIDAY!

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Thank you dear reader for stopping by! If you’d like to be notified of future posts here at JodiLMilner.com, be sure to ‘subscribe’ using the handy links. Or, even better, sign up to be part of my mailing list.

The big oops of reading the wrong schedule

There is a weird time vortex that happens around the holidays. Days get sucked into deep black holes and no one knows if it’s a Friday or a Tuesday. The only clock that sticks is how many days, hours, minutes, until the next thing happens.

Behold the holiday vortex!

Which is why I find this story so funny.

As someone who is trying to run her own business from home, schedules and plans are the only way to get things done. Some of these things require intense focus, so I save them for when the house is quiet. Ideally when I’m home alone. These precious silent hours are when the characters talk the clearest and the settings bloom to life.

Needless to say, I was eager for the day the kids went back to school and hubby went back to work. So eager in fact, that on January 3rd I woke my two youngest up at 7:20, fed them, made them get dressed and brush their teeth, got their backpacks and shoes figured out and was about to shovel them into the car and gleefully escort them back to school when I got a phone call.

“Hey hon,” hubby says. “I’m looking at the calendar and it says that K and D are off track,”

“What?” I hurry to the fridge and rummage through the papers important enough to earn a magnet, school schedule included. Sure enough, no school today.

No school for my younger two kiddos until the freaking 22nd of January. Yay for year-round school?

Here I am, literally tasting the sweet nectar of that most elusive of motherly gifts – free time – and I find out they will be hanging out with me for the next. three. weeks.

I might have cried. Or ate the rest of the stocking candy. Can’t quite remember.

Fast forward to today. While there’s none of that wonderful thing called silence. (Any parent will tell you that when it’s silent in the home and the kids are around, that means trouble.) What there is instead is plenty of laughter, fun, and games.

They’re pretty good about letting me escape to my basement dungeon and work, especially when it’s still early and they’re still sleepy haven’t booted up for the day.

As for my writing goals for January, this might be interesting…

Wish me luck.


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Power Word: Simplify

Modern living tends to be complicated for most and downright chaotic for some. It’s easy to allow the sheer numbers of chores, to do lists, job responsibilities, social media, and hobbies become overwhelming.

Which is why I’ve chosen the word ‘simplify’ as one of my power words this year.

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

‘Simplify’ means to keep reminding myself that I can only do one thing at a time. Worrying about everything else needing to be done accomplishes nothing.

It means, while dozens of different things can fit in each day’s planner square, I can only do what I have time for.

It means choosing tasks that are important first and making progress or finishing them, then moving on.

It means not taking on new projects unless there is reasonable space in my schedule.

It means not obsessing over things that don’t matter and accepting that good and finished is much better than perfect and never done.

It means finding new ways to streamline processes to be more efficient and rewarding.

And finally, it means to make sure I’m doing the simple things to take care of me.

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What does the word simplify meant to you in your life? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Don’t miss it!

Stonebearer’s Betrayal received another amazing review over at Reading for Sanity: A Book Review Blog – go check it out!

Also, my article about my journey from writing hobbyist to author, “Never Settle, Never Give Up,” went live on the Always the Journey blog, run by Jason Woodland.

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