Calibrating the writing process
A couple points I need to remind myself of when things are flying everywhere and I bog down trying to cram too much in too little space/ time.
- I have three modes to my writing process: Strip Mining, Assembly, and Polishing. It’s all “Writing”, but they are very different from each other and require different parts of my brain.
- I can’t do two simultaneously. Stop trying.
- Accept what mode I’m in. Embrace it even. At this point, the only deadlines I have are the ones I set. They can be extended.
- Remember that adage about the right word versus almost the right word? Very important, that. Word Count can be a trap. Go for time spent instead. Why? Because WC varies by mode. Strip Mining = lots. Assembly = less. Polish = even less.
- That said, Busy-ness is NOT Productivity. It all comes down to finished pages.
- It’s OK to work on more than one project at a time. The background process still run. Focusing on something else might just let them work easier.
- Finish the piece to the best of my ability, kick it out the door, then move on. The Learning Curve is just that – and the only way to learn is to do the work.
- It’s not what I can’t do but what I can do that counts. Life is a gift not a chore. Adjust attitude accordingly.
Some people have greatness thrust upon them. Few have excellence thrust upon them…. They achieve it. They do not achieve it unwittingly by doing what comes naturally and they don’t stumble into it in the course of amusing themselves. All excellence involves discipline and tenacity of purpose.
We pay a heavy price for our fear of failure. It is a powerful obstacle to growth. It assures the progressive narrowing of the personality and prevents exploration and experimentation. There is no learning without some difficulty and fumbling. If you want to keep on learning, you must keep on risking failure all your life.
John William Gardner