This morning completely went out the window because I had to finish reading The Night Circus. Normally I’m not one for “luxurious” (i.e., slow and descriptive) books, but this one was magic, truly. I’m so glad I was patient with it.
Speaking of patience…
“25 Things Writers Should Stop Doing (Right F—ing Now)” by Chuck Wendig
The rise of self-publishing has seen a comparative surge forward in quantity. As if we’re all rushing forward to squat out as huge a litter of squalling word-babies as our fragile penmonkey uteruses (uteri?) can handle. Stories are like wine; they need time. So take the time. This isn’t a hot dog eating contest. You’re not being judged on how much you write but rather, how well you do it. Sure, there’s a balance — you have to be generative, have to be swimming forward lest you sink like a stone and find remora fish mating inside your rectum. But generation and creativity should not come at the cost of quality. Give your stories and your career the time and patience it needs.
That’s #5 on the list. The others that particularly spoke to me were #7, 14, and 15. (Thanks goes to Ben L.J. Brooks for tweeting this.)
“It Looked Good On Paper” by Boys Don’t Read
It took me more time than most (20+ years) to realize life doesn’t always conduct itself by the rules of the The Hero’s Journey, or confine itself to Syd Field’s three act structure. That these predetermined pillars of climax – Valentine’s Day, the senior prom, the first kiss – aren’t necessarily anchored to anything meaningful, and when they are, they tend to pale against the sparkling ruler of Hollywood…
In my life, I’ve made peace with this. Mostly. But it’s a battle I fight every day in my writing.
Once again Jeff and the BDR crew make it on my list, due to their potent mix of humor, insight, and real-life resonance. I have a feeling you may see them here often.
“When You’re Bad at Something” by Natalie Whipple
I can’t tell you that if you work harder than anyone else you’ll be on top. If that were true, I would be way further ahead than I am. But alas, I’m still up against some people who have honest-to-goodness talent. It’s hard to deal with sometimes. I won’t lie and say I’m totally fine when someone who has put in half the work and time I have gets twice the reward I do. It’s hard to accept — important to accept — but hard.
But on the flip side, there are some comforts in all this sucking at stuff. For one, I do believe with all my heart that anyone can improve in something if they want to. It doesn’t matter what it is — you can go after it and do it well. It might take twice as long. You may never be as good as a prodigy. But you as a human being have the potential to succeed. It is part of all of us.
I’m not sure where I fall on the Talent vs. Hard Work range. They’re not even opposite ends of the same spectrum, are they? Regardless, this post was a great reminder that just because something doesn’t come easily doesn’t mean it will never come.
Patience. Again, it seems to be the key.