Susan Orlean, an author I admire, passes along a piece of advice she received from a writer she admires in the July/August issue of Writer’s Digest. (I’ve found the writing community a congenial one in this way as they encourage and advise one another.) While this particular counsel applies to writing, I think it might be worth applying no matter what your passion. “You don’t have to be in such a hurry as you write. Have more fun with the writing.”
My current project, spread across what some might call a dining table though it seldom serves that function in this house, has been in the works for two years in its present format. It has germinated like sourdough starter for at least fifteen. When an editor showed interest two years ago, I really thought six months would put this revision in good shape. When time began to run amok, I let the editor know, and she took the pressure off, saying, “Send it when it is ready.”
I can only liken the process I’ve followed to the version of Goldilocks that Mama used to tell. It seemed that the thing that led her to become lost in the woods at the Bear House was that every time she found a beautiful flower, another one appeared farther along that was even more beautiful. She chased their beauty until she was far from where she started. Now, I hope I don’t wind up lost in an unpleasant place, but one bit of research has led me to another as my investigation has become ever more intriguing. So, I’ve given myself permission from Susan’s conclusion to her advice. “I don’t have to be in such a hurry. I can have fun.”
My fun has me ten pages away from completing Final Draft # 4, having lost count of the non-final drafts, with Final Draft # 5 awaiting. Hopefully, # 5 will be the last final draft. New ideas for future amusement already bubble in my head.