Sunday, June 11, 2017

Patience, Grasshopper

Wilbur Grasshopper - Disney
We all learn things about ourselves as we wander along the Road of Life. One thing I've learned about me is that I'm horribly impatient. Now, I learned this about myself a number of years ago, so I've had some time to Practice Patience (OHHHHHMMMM), and I'm so much better than I used to be. But, sometimes, the impatience creeps up behind me and throws a tarp over my head, and then I'm all wrapped up and trapped and thrashing around, trying to get out of it. This happens when I'm writing.

I'll have an idea for a book, and get all excited and jumpy about it, and rush to open a new Word document and tap a slew of sentences onto the first page. This always feels good. And as the first page turns into the first twelve pages, I'm still feeling pretty good, because I'M WRITING A BOOK!

But then, somewhere a long the way, as The Book is actually starting to take form, Impatience throws that tarp over my head and before you know it I'm thrashing around under it, wailing about how The Book will never be finished, and why did I even think I could write a book, and I turn into Don Music, that frustrated piano composer from Sesame Street:

"Oh, I'll never get it! Never, never, never!"

I look at the 9000 words I've written, and was feeling really good about, and remember that average novels are around 80,000 words.

It's not pretty.

But it's only not pretty because I'm not being patient. And, when I remember to be patient, the words and phrases come more easily, and the 9000 words turn into 25,000, and the 25,000 turn into 50,000, and pretty soon (although NOT AS SOON AS I WOULD HAVE BLOODY LIKED) I have 90,000 words, and I can start editing. (Repeat photo from above).


And then, as soon as I do get it, and finish the final polishes on the manuscript, I think "Well, that really wasn't too bad!" and pat myself on the back, where Impatience is just waiting for me to start the next one.