Novel Writing is Plow Horse Work

Writing a novel is a marathon, not the 100 yard dash. I’m a sprinter, not a marathon runner. By nature, I’m a race horse. I like short term projects that I can work fast and furious on and then move on to the next thing. Novel writing is plow horse work. I’m out of my comfort zone and having a lot of fun but it’s a new challenge for me. I am pressing on and digging in. The end result of a day’s for the plow horse is a field ripe for planting and then harvesting, correct?

What about you? Are you a plow horse or race horse? How does it affect the work you do every day?

For all my ROWing friends, I’ve placed a blog hop at the end of this post to make it easy for you to find and encourage a fellow ROWer.

First Quarter, 2012 Plans for Week 8

Family Time

* Evenings, Saturdays and Sundays

Learn the Tenor Banjo

* 1 lesson per month, practice 30 minutes/evenings

Writing Education

* Read 30 minutes in writing craft book, Write Away ,  before 8:30

Fiction Writing

Before 8:30 A.M., M-F

Work on the layering chart


1:30-4, M, T, W, F; Th-12-2

Check FOF for articles I can write

Check family’s FB posts and comment, 10 minutes

Read blogs, promote friends

Thursday work on KIP, 12-2

Interested in Row80?
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Want Help Starting Your Book Club? Read This Post.

Want Help Starting Your Book Club? Read This Post.


  1. I think I’m just like you… a sprinter. I move fast all day long on everything. If my hubs didn’t tell me to slow down when i eat, it wouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to finish a big meal. So writing a novel is a slow going project. I’m trying to b e patient with it to do it right, but it is hard. My short stories flow out so much more easily and… faster. I am happy that short stories are regaining popularity, because I think I may write more of them than I do novels.
    Have a great week, Ali!

  2. I haven’t written a short story before but it appeals to me because the end is more in sight. I will finish this novel and hopefully become a stronger plower from the endurance of it all.

  3. I’ve always been the cross-country runner, LOL, a steady pace gets me across the finish line. And it doesn’t seem to matter whether I’m working on a 100k piece or a 10k piece. Best of luck for the upcoming week 🙂

  4. I’m a sprinter, too.Which means that I tend to approach my marathons in bursts of sprints! I’m deadline driven, and like to “close off” one job and move on to the next. The novel I’m working on now is taking a long, long time (in bursts of sprints) and, for me, staying motivated is the key challenge. Writer groups (like WANA711) help me stay motivated.

  5. Ah, the trick for you is to turn all the long things into short projects. That way you experience success, feel like you are accomplishing a lot, and moving towards your goals.

    Don’t look at the big, big picture – like 36 weeks of TOG! – focus on week 26 or reading The Aeneid. LOL!

    Have an excellent week, Ali! Catch the beads!!!!

    • Bridgette,
      I ought to hear your words automatically in my head but I just don’t. You’re absolutely right. I suppose I can view the character’s analysis’ that I’m working on as a goal and when that’s finished I can celebrate a completed segment.

  6. Hi Ali! I’m sorry I haven’t made it by for a while. Life happened.

    I totally get your race horse analogy. I tend to sprint and am not very good at trotting. But I’m working on it. I now realize that writing, good writing takes time and is not a race to the finish. So I’m working on patience. I understand Ali. It sounds like you’re doing well. I would love to be on that list. Can you add me to it? I do hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend and have a great week! 🙂

  7. Help me out Karen, what list did I mention?

  8. Reflecting on your post, I find I have no clear idea of whether I’m a plow horse or a race horse – I think I may tend toward the plow horse – now that I think of it, that picture at the top of your post looks like a cousin of mine. 🙂

    At any rate, good for you for taking on a challenge – something that stretches you. The rest of your goals sound very organized and varied. Good luck this week.


    • Judith, I admire your plow horse abilities. My closest friend is one too and I watch her work and learn from her approach. The race horse in me finds organizing and administrating easy enough and I’m glad I have that talent. I’m also glad I have the opportunity to grow in a weak area. Good day to you.

  9. Hm, plow horse sounds so…unattractive, lol. But that’s what I am. Slow and steady. I have moments of being on fire, but that’s not how I write the whole thing. I haven’t written a short story or novella in a few years, but I have a project with them I’m hoping to work on this summer. It will be interesting to see if I sprint through that!

    • Oh Angela, plow horses are beautiful. Think of the Clydesdale horses. Oh how elegant and awe inspiring they are. You’re fortunate to have this ability.

  10. I’m a sprinter, too, but I’m training to be a marathon runner. I prefer all out, go until you can’t go anymore. Rest is collapsing. 🙂 But it’s not a lifestyle, it’s something you can only do for short periods of time. Usually it catches up with me in some way or another. So I’m all about trying to pace, not race lately. I’m struggling to fight my instincts, but it’s slowly getting better.

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