Thursday, August 15, 2013

Trying to Write Lightning Instead of Lightning Bugs

I greatly enjoyed reading Rick's entry of the 13th, below, since I empathize entirely (not to mention that for the past several days I've been re-reading all my old Calvin and Hobbes collections)

My last couple of entries on this blog have been laments on what a hard time I'm having getting my latest novel finished. I'm still lamenting. How is it that Carolyn Hart has written 13 novels in the time it has taken me, Donis Casey, to write 6? Why do I not have the knack of writing a good book in good time? Why is it that I go over and over and over it, trying to come up with the great American novel every time?

I see how other authors produce one well-written novel after another and am overcome with bitter envy.

I am not necessarily envious because so many other writers are more successful than I -- that doesn’t bother me as much as you’d think. Many years ago I had a friend who could not stand the success of others. Not schadenfreude, exactly. She didn’t wish them ill, but she didn’t want them to be richer/happier/more talented than she. Even at my most emotionally immature did I ever believe that happiness and success were finite commodities in the universe. I like to think that good fortune begets more good fortune in the world.

What I envy is other people’s ability to work in spite of obstacles in their lives. I envy their time to promote and travel, their discipline and work ethic. My perception is that other people are better able to cope with the difficulties of their lives than I. They seem to be able to concentrate after a traumatic day, to carve out time to work in spite of all the picayune things they have to deal with during the course of a day. Why can’t I? Quit whining, Donis, and power through.

Oh, well. I’ve known for years that emotions good and bad come and go like the tide, and the best way to get through is to feel them and let them go if you can. They will, eventually, without effort on your part. Judging yourself for feeling inadequate only makes the pain last longer.

I recently read Jonah Lehrer's non-fiction book Imagine, in which Lehrer propounds that daydreaming and otherwise allowing the mind to wander is the most effective way to tap your true creativity. If this is so, then I am the most effectively creative creature alive.

And now that I have kvetched to my satisfaction, it's back to agonizing over each and every word. Because as Mark Twain noted “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”

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