Just this evening, I was sitting on my wonderful friend Katie’s porch enjoying a beautiful breeze and some Friday good cheer. We chatted away and covered the waterfront; one of the things we talked about was how some things simply take time to ripen. I mentioned working on my YA revision and how I expected it to take a few months but ended up spending far more time on it. As changes slowly occurred to me and I made them, new ones seemed to present themselves.
Eventually, I came up with a great idea that helps unify my story, but it was very late in my revision process. Pondering how it happened, I realized that this idea would never have emerged if I had tried to rush the revision and speed it up. Katie talked about how she is working to develop a unique perspective and “brand” for a new endeavor she’s launching — and we came up with some angles together that might be useful. But fine-tuning her approach and the unique angle that she has to offer is going to take time.
Then, as I was pondering all this, I listened to a fascinating interview with John Gray, the bestselling author of Men Are From Mars and Women Are From Venus. Over the years, this book has sold 30 million copies — what an amazing accomplishment! In his interview, John talked about the many years and scores of workshops it took him to come up with his concept and then crystallize it in a snappy title that people could instantly “get.” He wrote several other books prior to his bestseller that were weighty and complex — and that really didn’t go anywhere. It took years of searching, listening, and teaching for John to identify and then sharpen his message.
So as we’re working on our projects, let’s remember that you can’t rush creativity: it has to emerge in its own way and in its own time. Write on!