I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Learned to Write From a Turtle

One summer I found myself heading north through the mountains to the heart of the Tennessee Valley. The two lane winding road normally soothed me, but I on that day I was in a funk. You know, the kind of mullygrubs that made me want to sit in the mall and stick my tongue out at everyone who passed by. Yeah, that kind of funk.

Something in the road caught my attention. I slowed as I approached. It was a turtle, right there in the middle of the highway. His bulky, clawed legs tried desperately to gain ground. As my car got closer, the turtle stuck his head and legs back inside his shell and just sat there.

Normally, I’d stop and save the little guy but, like I said, I was having a bad day. I passed by the turtle and went on to visit my grandmother and took her to lunch. I headed back south feeling good about the world again. My mind wandered as I twisted and turned through the mountains.

Suddenly I saw something in the road. No, it couldn’t be! That turtle was still in the road, right where he was when I zoomed over him with my car earlier in the day. He hadn’t moved an inch in the entire afternoon. This time I pulled over and helped him cross the road. As I drove off, I wondered what trauma he certainly endured over those hours. His fear literally paralyzed him.

When I committed to my writing career, I remembered that frightful turtle. He haunted me. Here’s what he showed me:

1) I’ll never get where I want to be unless I stick my neck out.
2) I can’t depend on everyone else to get me where I want to go.
3) Progress is slow but I have to keep moving in the direction of my goal.
4) At some point, the right person will come along and help me.

During my writing journey, there are times when I feel like that turtle. I creep along, one slow step at a time. Sometimes I get stuck and withdraw into my shell. Fortunately, the My Book Therapy Ponderers give me the courage to stick my neck out, to keep moving forward, no matter how fearful I become. I know I’ll get there.

What about you? What writing fears do you have that keep you hiding in your shell?


  1. This turtle is just now coming out of her shell after allowing fears to keep her frozen in the middle of the road for the last two months.

    Writing my second book has been more of a challenge than the first because of those "I can't possibly sell a second time" fears.

    Thanks to an ever-present God and praying, supportive friends, my second novel is nearly completed. Woo hoo!

    Great post, Reebs. You are a wise woman full of encouragement and hope for others.

  2. Oh, Reebs, I love how you see life lessons everywhere you look. I will never look at a turtle the same way.

  3. Reebs, I knew you were the author of this post. You make such good points. I'm so like that turtle. Not paralyzed by fear but more like procrastination.

    Thanks for the reminder that I'll never get where I want to be unless I stick my neck out...or in my case, get in gear!

  4. Reebs, I needed this today. :) Thanks! I love the turtle analogy and the lessons we can learn from your experience. Your applications were great. Each of your applications speak to something I'm working through on this writing journey. Love this, and I plan to carry it into the rest of this day.

  5. Reebs,
    I agree with Beth! I will never look at a turtle the same.

    Progress seems so slow as I try to make time for writing as I live up to my responsibilities.

    Thanks Reebs!

  6. Awesome awesome awesome!

    What a wonderful lesson for all of us. Especially the one about sticking our necks out.

    Thanks, Reebs for another wonderful lesson.

  7. Really awesome post! Loved the analogy.

  8. Reebs, I love turtles, they are SO my favorite animal. I'm going to print your post and hang it somewhere. Yeah, that's what I'm going to do.

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. It looks like that turtle has taught many more people than me. :-)

    Beth, there are wonderful lessons in every story, in each direction we look on our journey. It really is amazing those things we see, if we have the right eyes.

    Thank you all for your comments. I'm so glad the turtle helped you in your life. It's been a long time coming... pun intended. :-)

  10. Today in lovely Ireland, this was a needed touch of home. I am writing, though, and sticking my neck out. Thanks, Reebs. Delores