When I was first married, I had a short fuse with a long grudge. My husband would start out, “Patience is a virtue,” to which I’d finish, “that I don’t have.”
However, the more I hang around writers, the more I realize the patience and tenacity it takes to see the idea through to completion. I used to be one of those readers who scoffed at people whose writing content seemed substandard compared to others. Shame on me. Now when I hear folks slight a writer, I flinch, and often speak up. It may not be high on the classics list, but anyone who has taken an idea and FINISHED the story, let alone found an editor who helped them get it to publication, is worthy of some amount of respect in my book. Regardless of how I feel about the content.
Sitting under Dave Wolverton’s tutelage this past week, I got to hear all sorts of fascinating stories on how bestsellers have come to be. For instance, J.R.R. Tolkien had a part of the saga unwritten for over a yr. (Sorry – I have a lot of stories in my head and can’t remember which part – I think Mordor but I could be wrong.) Then he had an experience that gave him what he needed to finish the part. I had never thought of Tolkien’s writing process and decided to look it up – do you realize the man took 10 years to write LOTR? And then the fights with the publishers that ensued afterward. Wow.
When Dave told us that story, I was amazed. Sometimes I get frustrated with myself because it seems to take so long to get what lives in my head written. I begin to doubt I’m the right person to tell this story. Maybe I don’t have what it takes. Maybe I’m not good enough.
Which is ridiculous. If I wasn’t the right girl to tell the story, it wouldn’t have come to me in the first place.
My sister mE commented last week on my own gestation period. I was telling her the back story that was finally shaping up in my mind. She said she couldn’t believe how much the story had changed from its original conception. It went from a simple ghost story to now no ghosts, but a rather large (some might call it epic – not sure about that. Define epic?) contemporary fantasy. The more I change it and “discover” the back story, the more excited I get. I have had ideas that came from really weird places, but as I do the research, I begin to see how it all fits together. Maybe the stories do write themselves. Maybe writers are simply vessels to help the public know they’re there. Kinda like Michelangelo uncovering David.
All I know is, I don’t get frustrated when I’m stuck on an idea anymore. Instead, I go work on another part of the novel. Invariably, how to get unstuck comes. With patience, and a little tenacity. 😉