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Monday, February 18, 2013

No Shortcuts

My original plan for today’s blog was to redirect you to Misty Simon’s blog where I’m visiting. Then I went to the Mid-Michigan RWA chapter meeting on Saturday. The program given by my friend, Nancy Gideon, was worth driving through snow squalls and a white-out. Nancy’s speech made such an impression I wanted to share my take on it with you.

There are no shortcuts. Beginning writers need to take the process one step at a time. Learn the craft, develop the skills, don’t rush. I wish someone had said that when I was starting out. Maybe they did and I wasn’t listening. My problem was rushing the process. An editor said they wanted to see a manuscript and I rushed it off before it was ready.

While Nancy's speech was directed to writers, isn’t this true of more than just writing a book? What about losing weight? Never mind it took how many years to pile on the pounds. We want it gone now. There are no shortcuts. We have to change our lifestyle—how we eat, what we eat, our activity level. It’s a slow process. The same with learning an athletic skill or playing an instrument. We have to learn and develop the skill. And practice, practice, practice. We can’t rush the process.

That is so contrary to the mentality of our times. We want it all and we want it now. Maybe what we need to do is develop patience first. It is easier to be patient with others than it is to be patient with ourselves. Take recovering from surgery. There’s a good reason post-operative directions include what not to do. We’re in such a hurry to get better we can do more damage than good.

Besides impressing on her listeners to take things one step at a time, Nancy reminded us to enjoy the journey. Take the time to look back at how far we’ve come. Again, I was reminded of recovering from surgery. When I had my knee replaced, within hours of surgery the nurse made me walk. From the bed to the door and back was an accomplishment. Next time out into the hall; then down the hall to the next room; then to the nurses’ station. Each time a little farther. The nurse’s “good job” made the pain and exhaustion worth it. Maybe we need to tell ourselves “good job” as we take time to see what we’ve accomplished whether it’s writing, learning to golf or play the piano, or losing weight. Celebrate the little steps.

And remember, there are no shortcuts.

Now, if you’re so inclined, hop on over to Misty Simon’s blog. She had some unusual questions for me.


  1. Oh, thanks so much for posting this, Diane. I was literally "in the air" on Saturday and had to miss the meeting. I knew Nancy would have a great presentation. Your blog shared her speech with all of us who couldn't attend.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I hope Nancy puts the whole speech on her blog or website. Glad you got home safely, Loralee.

  2. It was a great presentation, and I'm so glad I was able to attend. Yes, it was definitely worth the drive, even with the white-outs.

    1. Yes, definitely worth the drive. Thanks for commenting, Patty.

  3. So true! We want what we want, when we want it...usually now!


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