“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-years 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: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles” is one of my favorite writing handbooks — it’s short, snappy, and strives to help writers succeed at their calling.
Our boy Steven isn’t afraid to tackle the big issues that can stop us all: fear, procrastination, self-doubt. But he also focuses on those qualities we need to cultivate like professionalism and patience.
Patience isn’t very sexy, I know. There’s a slow, plodding feeling to it.
But consider my handy “Century Dictionary” definition: “calm and uncomplaining endurance.” Who doesn’t need this as a writer?
We all know that good writing — great writing — takes time. Time to ponder. Time to commit to paper. Time to revise. And revise.
When we approach our work calmly, we give ourselves the time and space to create. When we work uncomplaininglymor bypass any negative energy that might stall us, And when we bring endurance to our art, we accept the demands of the work we’ve set out to do. And that frees us to bring our best selves to the page.
Calm, uncomplaining endurance. Can we bring this to the page as we all write on?
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