Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Persistent or Pig-Headed?

This book just won't finish. I'm getting closer and closer, I see that, but I'm still not done. I have to ask myself, am I being persistent or just pig-headed?

I ask myself which school of though to subscribe to (and since the teacher fled long ago, it's up to me to flail between the two trying to come up with a decision):

On one hand, writing is 0.01% inspiration, 99.99% revision. I've heard this countless times, seen it quoted by famous writers over and over again. But they're famous, their persistence paid off, so it's easy for them to talk.

On the other, they say your first novel is your worst novel, it's your second or fourth or seventh that will actually sell. It's like what I tell my friends when they're having a hard time with a guy: if it's this much work, it's not worth it. What if I should put this one into the proverbial bottom drawer and start anew?

I used to picture the line between the two as one drawn in the sand, by one's big toe or a piece of driftwood. Now, though, it's a spiderweb, invisible but for when the sun shines onto it, revealing the places it's broken altogether, the dredges that remain clinging for dear life to some unknown entity, possibly my ego.

Just when I begin to wallow in its tender tattered state, the seeming hopelessness of it all, a small, quiet army sneaks up in the middle of the night and mends it, pushes me forth. Were it not for these people (who know exactly who they are) I would have given up a long time ago.

Because of them, I persist pig-headedly.