Long time ago I saw a quote attributed to Harrison Ford about perseverance being the key to his success. He said soon after he arrived in Hollywood he realized if he don’t quit, but got up and keep going after failure and rejection, he’d do far better than 90% of the people he came in on the bus with.
At one point in the last several days while working on Shift Tense I sat back in my chair and realized it’s not what I want to write. (Wha?! I hear you say) Oh, I want to write it. I think it’s a good story, a solid, action-packed sequel. I’m going to finish it. What I mean is it lacks the poignancy, the depth, the insight, the clarity I want to have as a writer. Top that off with someone’s comment today that Running Black was “dense.” Dense. (I’m not in a snit. I appreciate him reading it and he was being frank with me.)
According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours to attain true expertise in a particular field. I’ve heard it takes a million words to find your voice. The simple answer is I’m not there as a person or an author. I mean, anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly at first, and I haven’t worked far enough along the learning curve to even begin to exhibit the kind of mastery I’d like. But you have to write your first book before you can write your second. Everything now is a foundation, a step on that road. It’s moving in the right direction.
Back when I started doing art glass I pinned this quote up in my shop. It’s a reminder about investment, resolve, influence, and genuine creativity.
Mastery is not something that strikes in an instant, like a thunderbolt, but a gathering power that moves steadily through time, like the weather.
~ John Champlin Gardner, Jr.
I’m going to pin a copy in my office too.