This is basically a footnote to the previous post, and yeah, it seems kind of obvious, right?
Writing isn't instant. We're all well aware of that.
But I think that, in an age of next-day shipping, and instant downloads, and having so much change immediately at our fingertips...
It can start to feel like we should have novels that happen overnight.
You know? Just snap your fingers, and, voilà!
I start feeling a creeping sense of impatience.
I can be working merrily along, following all the smart, good systems that work well for me, I can keep pacing myself and moving forward, with everything going reasonably well, very steadily, with definite progress—
And then I just want to throw it all out the window and have a BOOK already!
Anyone with me?!
Can my novel please be done in the next five minutes.
Look, this is an interesting character, a fun setting, and an intriguing problem... Just add water and INSTA-NOVEL!
Oh, why doesn't it work like that.
And then I have to go sit quietly in a corner and remember the books that I most love to read. The stories that stay with me. The movies that make me cry.
I remember that the process takes time, and that the time is worth it. For that kind of high-quality project? Yeah. It's worth it.
Sometimes I have to remind myself of this every day. (Okay, okay. Every hour.)
Writing isn't instant, Lucy. Take the time that it takes. Don't settle.
... Granted, I'm not opposed to learning to write faster. I'm about to reread Rachel Aaron's excellent book, and I just started reading Monica Leonelle's book Write Better, Faster. (I think some writing quota experiments are in my future!)
I want to learn how to optimize what I'm doing, by all means. And I'm gulping down productivity podcasts and applying what I already know for the best way to write a lot of excellent words.
But even with the best systems and strategies in place, I still firmly believe that any book worth reading is still going to take a bit of time to create.
And too: it takes time to learn the skills to create that good thing in the first place.
Doesn't mean we can't get there, doesn't mean that the creation time can't become shorter... It just means we aren't there immediately.
Writing is not instant.
And I, for one, need to skip comparing myself to other writers, or other careers. (Yeesh!!!)
One day I want to be massively prolific, but right now, I'm learning how to create a quality product. That's not an immediate process.
How about you? Are you feeling that itch of wanting to be done, done with learning, done with this book, done with whatever you're working on?
Ooof. I hear you. Let's go eat Christmas cookies until the feeling passes.
And then, after the sugar coma wears off, maybe we can accept that we will always be improving. Always learning. Always finding aspects of our writing (or our thinking, our reading, our self-management styles) that need to grow.
I think that, instead of viewing that as something awful, something that says "we aren't there yet," or something that feels like a setback, we need to see it as something else.
Growth equals life, my friends.
If we keep finding places where we need to, want to, have to improve, then we're finding evidences of life.
Which is a GOOD thing, by the way.
What I keep telling myself is: It is okay if this learning process takes a really really long time.
Like: the rest of our lives.
It doesn't make us stupid. It doesn't mean we won't write amazing things in the meantime.
Okay, lionheart? Okay. How about that. Let's create stories and novels galore, even as we keep on learning, keep on growing.
(But seriously, let's have a few more cookies in the meantime.)