By nature I have never really been a very patient person. As a kid I always let money burn a hole in my pocket while my brother was good at saving his money and using for things that he wanted. He was also very good at attracting money, which seems to have persisted even now.
My lack of patience has also been something of a challenge when it comes to writing, especially essay and fiction. The fact of the matter is that for writing story telling to truly emerge and become good it has to endure the refinements of multiples revisions. In a world dominated by the Internet and the ability to order anything instantly, this more time consuming craftsmanship can be hard to manage. I like what I wrote and want to send it out now.
However, that is rarely a recipe for success. In fact, I believe it literally is the recipe for failure. Recently I was reminded of this by an author whom I saw read a couple of weeks ago. I had wanted to approach him afterwards and say hello, but there was a crowd and I had to go. I managed to find his email address and send a quick note that in part mentioned some correspondances I had had with the poet Donald Hall. This author had worked with Hall on another project.
In my email I mentioned that Mr. Hall had mentioned how many drafts he goes through for a poem and piece of prose, more than 100 and 25 respectfully. This author responded, "As a teacher of writing, I keep trying to bring this lesson home to my students, that getting it right is worth the wait, that all the slow pressure adds to the specific gravity of the thing. How not? But it remains a tough sell, in an age when you can write and 'post' and be electronically distributed just like that. Hard to resist."
Hard to disagree. I love the ability to write a blog piece because I can get it out of my head and then move on, but I have to learn that it is very important to give my other writing the time to breathe and for me to gain perspective on it, and, as Hemingway said, allow the well of ideas to refill again. I also remembering some advice by Steven King where he said he writes a draft, just works at getting it down with very little revision, and then lets it sit for at least three months. When he goes back he has perspective and his thoughts and ideas are refreshed.
All good advice, and now to follow it.
Causes James Buchanan Supports
Expanding health care in the US, ending war as a viable tool of foreign policy, and issues related to social justice in general.