Don’t you love it when someone comes up with an insight from left field that really wraps your mind around your work? That’s exactly what happened to me today. I was walking my dog Ryder in the park and happened to run into Tom, who was taking his four-legged buddy, Buster, out for a spin. We caught up a bit and I walked Tom back to his house. We talked about his daughter and how his work was going — he’s in sales. As I was leaving, he asked how I was doing. I filled him in a bit and he said, “Just keep writing. Something profound is bound to come out. The more you write, the better the odds.”
“The more you write, the better the odds.” Spoken like a true salesman! Actually, seeing my work through Tom’s eyes was a real eye opener. It made me realize that sales and writing have a lot more in common than we think. Sure, there’s all the rejection that’s involved in each field, but that’s not what I’m talking about. That comes with the territory. What hit home for me is the idea that the more we write, the more chance we have of writing something that’s truly wonderful.
Frankly, I used to think that the opposite was true: that the more sparing and selective I was with the words I put on paper, the more profound and meaningful they would turn out to be. While this is a fine idea in theory, in practice, it often led me to over-think and under-write. I would become so focused on capturing the idea in my head with absolute, even ruthless, precision, that I would lose the energy and momentum I needed to get it down on paper. Has this ever happened to you?
“Don’t get it perfect, just get it going.” When it comes to writing, there’s a lot to be said for this approach. Often I’ve found that if I just get started and keep going, I’ll work my way through to something that’s really exciting and worth fine-tuning and polishing. How about you?