Saturday, June 21, 2008

There's no whining in pyramid building...

(The photograph is from Tulum in Mexico. You can see the ruins in the upper right corner.)

So I watched Juno on Thursday night. Terrific movie. Great characterization. I loved the layers.

As often happens when I enjoys another writer's work, I took a step back from my own work-in-progress (WIP) to evaluate it. Editing and story analysis are probably not the best activities to undertake while in the midst of trying to complete a first draft, but I have a kind of haphazard writing process anyway.

Naturally, a WIP is not as polished as a feature film, and I found myself pouting over my draft. Is this working? If it's not working, should I attempt to fix it today or should I just dive into the stack of books I bought this week to read? And why is writing so hard anyway? I should take up something new. Something eating Tic Tacs or doing 10-piece jigsaw puzzles for toddlers.

That was about the time that I thought about the megalithic, astrologically aligned pyramids in ancient Egypt. Now, there was a project meant to stand for all time. They lugged massive blocks of rock and placed them with astounding precision. Clearly, the difficulty of the work didn't deter them. And look what they have to show for it.

So, like Tom Hanks' character says in A League of Their Own: "The hard is what makes it great."

We struggle to do things that are terribly difficult because they are worth doing and...

There's no crying in baseball.
There's no whining in pyramid building.
There's no pouting in writing.


Kimberly Frost said...

What's the hardest thing you've ever done that you've really enjoyed?

Kim Lenox said...

Your Tulum pic is gorgeous. Just look at that water! Sigh!

I think it's good to pout over our drafts. I think that's how we take things to the next level. At least that's what I'm telling myself right now. As you know, I do a lot of teeth gnashing during my writing. :)

The hardest thing I've ever done that I've really enjoyed? Being a mom. It's HARD! But I love it!

Kelly McCullough said...

Nice post, Kimber. Very smart. Hardest thing I've ever done that I really enjoyed--the long slog from beginning writer to published professional. For me it hasn't been any one book so much as it's been becoming the writer I am now--who is of course not quite the writer I want to be next.

Kimberly Frost said...

Kim -

I think for the people who are good parents, parenting is the toughest thing in the world... because they care so much about getting it right.

I know you're a GREAT mom, so it's all worth it. :)

Kimberly Frost said...

Kelly -

As usual, we're on the same page.

I suspect becoming a better writer is a never-ending journey. My first novel comes out next year, but there are still so many skills that I'm honing.

I want to be one of those authors who gets better with each book. I think Jim Butcher and Tami Hoag are better now than when they started (and they were good from the start). Nancy, too. She took her writing to new and great places with Virgin.

It's great to see authors strive for excellence every time they come out. Success can be a bit of a trap. Complacency the enemy. So I guess what I'm saying is that it's hard now, and it's going to stay hard. LOL

The hard is what makes it great...The hard is what makes it great...The hard is what makes it great....

Kelly McCullough said...

A-yep. I finally feel that I'm starting to know what I'm doing with this whole book thing after writing a dozen and publishing three--which is not at all the same thing as doing it right.

Though it was really frustrating at times I think the worst thing in the world for my development as a writer would have been someone buying my first or even second or third book.

The time I spent as a short story writer and the way the novel failures kept forcing me to improve has made a huge difference in the quality of my work and helped to build into my psyche the idea that not only do I constantly have to strive to improve and that's a good thing, but also that I have that ability to keep improving if I don't get complacent.

fiaschetti said...

Hardest thing-- you have to know... was going thru our adoption process and doing it concurrently with training for the tri. Both seemed like goals I'd never attain, and it was no surprise to me that they collided such that the embassy called us to Guatemala at the time I was supposed to go to the tri. The adoption was harder bc crazy govts were involved and it really showed me how little control i have over things that matter the most to me.

Kissing the Suspect Release!

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