Turtle Wisdom

44,881 words | NaNoWriMo Participant 2013I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the first time this year. My intention was to write 1,600-2000 words for six to seven days per week month-long, and I finished November with a total of 44,881 words. My NaNoWriMo total didn’t make me a “winner” by the rules of the 50-000 word challenge, but it did give me a structure for re-engaging my research consistently. I’ll be taking that accomplishment—and its momentum—with me into the upcoming year.

When I finished writing up my doctoral study in 2012, I wanted a way to tangibly mark the achievement and capture the lesson learned with something that would outlast the graduation pomp and smiles from visiting relatives.

After some thought, I settled on these pottery turtles.

My two turtles come from the hands of New Mexican Navajo artists Tom Vail Jr. (white-grey with rainbow) and Johnny Williams (glazed black). For the last three years of my program, I spent a few days retreating in New Mexico each fall, and these pieces remind me of the state’s artists, peoples, and land.

They also remind me of wisdom strains that I’d learned as a child and promptly forgotten through the years:

“Slow and steady wins the race…”

“The race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong…”

“She that endures to the end shall be saved…”

and then the most prosaic, from one of my research advisors:

“Do a little bit every day.”

It was that last piece of counsel that helped me most through my research topic, around grad student fatigue and despite various family and personal derailments. It kept me current for most of NaNoWriMo, and it’ll also keep me on task with my goals for the coming year.

We’re still a few days away from the calendar turn. What goals do you have for your next 12 months? How can you break them down into manageable pieces? How will you “do a little bit every day”?

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One thought on “Turtle Wisdom

  1. Pingback: Of Circumstance and Action | mackenzian

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