I have heard about dogs that are so well-behaved, you could leave a plate of food out and they won’t touch it, even if you leave the room. (Even if you leave the house!)
I have heard about dogs that are so well-behaved, you can tell them to stay by the mailbox and they won’t move an inch, even if you forget about them for hours.
And I have seen with my own eyes dogs that are so well-behaved, they walk right by their owner’s side, never straying into the street, never barking at strangers.
My little guy is not that kind of dog. Oh, he’s smart and cute and cuddly. (A dangerous combination, trust me.) But if he has a chance, he will make trouble. If we’re not paying attention, he will get into the trash can (even ones with “dog-proof” lids) and eat all the tissues (or worse). He barks at dogs, squirrels, people — anything that moves, really. He has absolutely zero concept of oncoming traffic. And somehow he manages to sleep in just the right spot to take up half the bed. (My half, of course.)
But the thing is, there’s no point in my wishing for a different or better dog. I have the dog that I have. (And I love him!) So it’s my responsibility to figure out how to train him, how to help him live up to his best. Not the best of other dogs.
In case you couldn’t tell, this is also an extended metaphor for writing.
We have all heard about manuscripts that were written in a week. Or a month. Stories that came fully formed into the author’s mind through a dream. Or that flowed out in a perfect first draft. Manuscripts that found an agent right away. Or that got a million-dollar deal.
These manuscripts of mythical proportions are not our manuscripts. There’s no point in wishing for them. All you get is your manuscript. And your manuscript is wonderful, in its own unique ways. So love your manuscript. Work hard to take care of it. Make your manuscript the best that your manuscript can possibly be.
And then go curl up with your dog, cat, or pillow, and be grateful that manuscripts don’t take up half the bed.