This morning’s reading:
Resistance outwits the amateur with the oldest trick in the book: It uses his own enthusiasm against him. Resistance gets us to plunge into a project with an overambitious and unrealistic timetable for its completion. It knows we can’t sustain that level of intensity. We will hit the wall. We will crash.
The professional, on the other hand, understands delayed gratification. He is the ant, not the grasshopper; the tortoise, not the hare. Have you heard the legend of Sylvester Stallone staying up three nights straight to churn out the screenplay for Rocky? I don’t know, it may even be true. But it’s the most pernicious species of myth to set before the awakening writer, because it seduces him into believing he can pull off the big score without pain and without persistence.
The professional arms himself with patience, not only to give the stars time to align in his career, but to keep himself from flaming out in each individual work. 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 professional steels himself at the start of a project, reminding himself it is the Iditarod, not the sixty-yard dash. He conserves his energy. He prepares his mind for the long haul. He sustains himself with the knowledge that if he can just keep those huskies mushing, sooner or later the sled will pull into Nome. (Steven Pressfield, The War of Art)
Not an hour later, I read this:
Mastery of genre is essential for yet one more reason: Screenwriting is not for sprinters, but for long-distance runners. No matter what you’ve heard about scripts dashed off over a weekend at poolside, from first inspiration to last polished draft, a quality screenplay consumes six months, nine months, a year, or more. (Robert McKee, Story)
A good reminder for the pregnant lady trying to take everything at a breakneck speed.
Speaking of the Tortoise and the Hare, did you see K.M. Weiland’s post on how she self-edits her novels? Wow.
Image Credit: MorgueFile