A woman in my apartment complex told me she has a novel idea. I’m sure she’s not the last person who will ever tell me that. I heard this girl at the airport once go nuts over her novel idea. She annoyed the hell out of me, this airport girl. I wanted to interrupt her and say, “You have no idea what you are talking about.” But you know, maybe she did? Maybe her novel will come to be and maybe it will be a great novel.
In the book I recommended yesterday, The War of Art, Steven Pressfield spends a section of tiny essays explaining what makes a writer (or anyone) a professional. One such essay is called, “A Professional is Patient.” On page 75 he says that the professional,
… understands delayed gratification. He is the ant, not the grasshopper; the tortoise, not the hare. … He knows that any job, whether it’s a novel or a kitchen remodel, takes twice as long as he thinks and costs twice as much. He accepts that. He recognizes it as reality.
The reality is, I think, that most of us have novel ideas, or just really good ideas in general that will take a lot of persistance to make them materialize. Some of us have entire drafts of those novel ideas but what separates those who actually follow through with those ideas from those who won’t–any good idea, says Pressfield–is the acceptance of delayed gratification. Every day we must go to work and say, I’m going to take my time. I’m going to keep working until this is done. And then I am going to keep working on it again until it is great.
So, today, on this second day of RTNM, I am going to slow down, take my time, and do my best to get lost in that work. It’s that whole cliche about recognizing the value of the experience in the journey, not the destination.