Dream Big, Act Slow


Have you ever seen a movie or read a book that just seemed rushed? It’s frustrating, isn’t it? You just want to call that artist up and say, “You should have taken a little more time!”

Or when I do a project around the house, I’m more concerned about finishing it and moving on than I am about the outcome. So Sarabeth often has to come by later and fix the problem I made worse (drills, walls, and I don’t get along).

Or maybe you write music. Have you ever gone back to listen to an old track and just wished you put a little more heart and thought into the lyrics or the tune?

Let me tell you firsthand the importance of taking your time.

Last year, I achieved my dream of having my first book published. To my complete astonishment, it received raving reviews from everyone who read it (it holds a 4.5-star rating on Amazon). But when I went back to read it myself, with the sense of urgency out of my way, I couldn’t believe how much better it could have been! Thankfully, no one seemed to realize it, but I just kept thinking how rushed it was. This mistake could have been avoided if I had listened to my wife and slowed down.

So, I think my advice here, is to not focus so hard on the finish line, but concentrate on the very next step instead, and just have faith that the end is out there somewhere.

My book may have received great reviews – and I’m flattered – but, a year later, it’s still not a bestseller. And I firmly believe that that’s simply because I was rushing. Editing it for the final time, I was asking myself the wrong question. Instead of asking, How many pages till I’m done? I should have been asking, How many pages till it’s as perfect as can be?

Thankfully my publisher was kind enough to agree to print a second edition. I told him, “There will be plenty more pages and lots of changes to characters, and a bigger backstory.” To which he responded with an enthusiastic: “If we need to make it bigger, we can make it bigger.”

Folks, let me tell you this right now, and you can quote me: Unless Michael Crichton comes back to life and writes another Jurassic Park sequel or Susan Collins comes out with a prequel to The Hunger Games (can we petition for that?), when it’s revised, The Man in the Box will be the best fiction book you read in 2014!

Follow The Man in the Box on Facebook for more information and updates  to stay in the loop.

Do you struggle with rushing your dreams? What can you do to slow down? Share your ideas.

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About Andrew Toy
I'm in the beginning stages of starting my own publishing company that's unlike anything you've ever heard of in the industry. The direction of AdoptingJames is taking a 90-degree turn and will be more writing/publishing-focused. Stay tuned for huge updates and exciting news!

26 Responses to Dream Big, Act Slow

  1. Brayden says:

    Love this!! I’m in the process of writing my first novel and this is such great advice! Thank you!

  2. ttcwriter says:

    My problem is that I’m still in a “just write already!” mode. But I try not to rush when I get into a good groove.

    At a recent book-release party, the author told us that he doesn’t like to do readings because, as he reads, he line edits in his head. 🙂

  3. will remember this, thank you! DAF

  4. Mr. Prose says:

    People pften confuse their goals and tend to comprimise the urgency of gettingsomething done and makeing the finished product the best it can be.

    However, as a writer, my work will never be good enough. There is a point when you do have to say to yourself “Good enough” or elese you will never finish. There have been times when I’ve struggled with finding that perfect word, never mind sentences or paragraphs, and in the end it still may not be right…suitable…proper…fitting…

  5. Thanks for the words of encouragement! Just finished the first draft of my first novel. Definitely rushed it there at the end. Now, I’ll take the time to go back and flush out some of the scenes. I’ll be sure to ask myself “How many until it’s perfect?” rather then “How many pages until it’s done?” Thanks!

  6. thomasjford says:

    Good post there. I have the same problem with screenwriting which I have actually just blogged about. There is always a danger that you are just racing to get to the end when you really should just take your time and think about it. It’s hard when you are in the moment though. My first draft scripts could certainly benefit from a bit of composure!

    Check out my blog about it at http://www.thomasjford.wordpress.com

    It kind of dovetails nicely with yours!

  7. stefanieemae says:

    This is so true. And we don’t think about how true, until it’s too late and we look back on our work. Thanks for putting this out there!

  8. helenscribe says:

    When people ask: “How long did it take to write?” (my debut English mystery “The Domino Deaths”) I answer “Thirty-seven years,” And they gasp. OK, I exaggerate, but I’m a fiction writer, for heaven’s sake. But all those years I worked in industry went into the mix, writing at night, on the weekends. Two rounds of edits, same number of critique groups. Man, writing takes TIME.

  9. rmariowright says:

    Good advice and it is all too often that writers new to the craft rush through their work to simply get it done to claim the title of Published Author.

  10. JenerationLife says:

    What a great article! I’m writing a book right now and this post definitely helped me! Thanks!

  11. rtimmorris says:

    Good advice for sure. For myself, I’m actually happy with both of my (unpublished) novels and did not feel the need to rush them. The problem for me was rushing my query letter to literary agents, as I’ve queried a ton and gotten no requests (yet). I feel like I should have taken the time to really examine what my novels were really about and what the selling points truly are.

  12. Pingback: Roller-coasters should be both thrilling and | the paperback adventure

  13. Excellent advice. Its something to come back to when your at that “my writing sucks” stage. What a cycle…

  14. merrildsmith says:

    Great advice, and I love the cartoon! Thanks for the follow!

  15. I completely agree. Taking your time is a crucial part of successful writing. I have to work SO hard to take my time. Thanks so much for the follow 🙂

  16. Pingback: Why Do We Write? | Brewing in the City

  17. satire1982 says:

    I can definitely relate to this post because I’ve been struggling to figure out which story to write first. I have many book ideas, and in the midst of those ideas I realize that some are meant for the big screen. I love to write. I’ve been writing for years, and my writing has matured over the past decade.

    The book I’m currently writing is a thriller, and it’s also provocative. I thought because the idea came easily that writing would follow – NOT. I’m only 1400 words in, and it took me three hours to write that. However, the two people who read what I have so far gave me good feedback, so taking time to develop a story is essential.

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