Saturday, January 12, 2008

Any job worth doing.... worth doing right. Or so my grandfather used to say. He drilled it into his children and my mother, with a slight roll of her eyes, passed this chestnut on to me. Not with the certainty and fervor that my grandfather used when he intoned it, but with a firm resolve that we should always do our best.

I've always thought that his words and then hers had a logic about them. After all, why set about to do something if you don't intend to take it seriously? Tonight, as I sat down to edit my NaNo novel (read: cut and slash huge amounts out before painstakingly (and painfully) trying to piece the decent bits back together), I wondered if perhaps that nugget of wisdom only really applies to bankers and accountants and others of that ilk. After all, in certain professions there IS a RIGHT answer. My bank account had better not fluctuate for any other reason than my spending. But for those of us that pursue art and creativity and well....the muse...getting it right the first time is counter-productive to getting it done at all.

I see so many creative people get bogged down because their efforts don't match their excessively high expectations. When I wrote in the distant past, I expected my first draft to be as wonderful as the books I had read. Never mind that those authors first drafts didn't look like their finished works. None of the paintings or sculptures that have moved me in museums were the artists first works. Why is it so hard for me to remember that they messed around a lot before becoming the masters that we revere today?

To those who have let "getting it right" stand in the way of messing around, do what I did and send your Inner Critic on a nice vacation to the Fijian Islands. I hear they're beautiful; maybe she'll forget about you and never come home. To be so lucky...