Yes, I know. It doesn't really look like him.
Followers of this blog know that I am in the final stages of finishing a manuscript for a novel. (I really am almost there now.)
It is difficult. I am a pretty fast writer, but a terribly slow re-writer. It takes me drafts and drafts and drafts, with additions, deletions, re-additions, re=deletions, corrections and missed corrections, and corrections of the corrections. While revising and copy-editing can sometimes have an engaging aspect, they can also be soul-wrenching.
I don’t want to sound too whiney, but it can be hard not to be overwhelmed by the question: “is it worth it?” “It” being the manuscript, even the whole endeavor of writing. And then there are all the related inquiries; most of which begin with “why,” many of which include “bother.”
The answer, I guess, is that you just have to do the things that make you you, even when they are difficult. Translation: if you are a writer, or even if you just want to be a writer, you have to write. And if you want any kind of an audience, and have any kind of pride, you have to re-write. (And re-write again.)
Even so, as you get towards an end of a project, it is hard not to grow increasingly self-critical, a mind-state that can be paralyzing.
This weekend, I’ve looked for inspiration in one of my all-time heroes–Derek Jeter!
I call Derek a hero with some trepidation–maybe Jeter is not as nice as his public persona. But no one can fault his determination, focus and drive. His at-bat on his 3000th hit was a great example. The count was 3-2. Then he kept hitting fouls, one after another until he got a pitch he could slam. As he said afterwards, he was not trying for a home run, he was just trying to hit the ball. Hard.
Of course, one could argue that baseball is kind of a silly game; even if you like it, a game. All this effort–all this focus–all this attention–all this money–for what?
I, for one, right now, just choose to admire. And to make myself get back to my own work with some of that determination, focus, élan.