Hidden Skills

Philip Eisenberg served for many years as a prompter for the San Francisco Opera. He was hidden from the audience’s view in a box below center stage. From his hideaway he would quietly cue the performers, though sometimes, if a performer missed a cue or was late coming on stage he would have to sing a line or two for them.

He was once asked why, with all his knowledge of music, he never became a conductor. His answer: “It’s better for me to be good at what I do—than be one of many conductors.”

For Philip, becoming good at what he did was more important than the public acclaim he might have won as a conductor. His measure of success was excelling in his chosen field.

As writers, much of the work we do happens “off-stage” or below the surface, where people never see it.

There’s all the thinking we do before we even sit down to create.

There’s all the research that we do that never finds its way into a story.

There are all the false starts or detours we take before we hit our stride.

There’s all the revising that we do to polish a draft until it shines.

So much of the work we do happens behind closed doors where no one sees it. For most people, the projects we are working on have a kind of ghostly quality—they don’t really seem real. Not we have a book to show them or a story published online or in print do they have even a glimpse of what we’ve been doing with our time.

It takes faith and endurance and emotional stamina to work this way—far from the distractions and the recognition most people crave. But let’s remember: you can’t rush creativity and often it happens in silence. So let’s hide away happily as we all write on!

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About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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