Naïve passion, which promotes work done in ignorance of obstacles, becomes—with courage—informed passion, which promotes work done in full acceptance of those obstacles. – pg 50, Bayles & Orland*
I am soooo stuck in this . . . place, this land between ignorance and acceptance. Now, I want to be clear, when I completed my first book, I knew a first draft was just that, a draft. However, I didn’t really understand just how bad, flawed, seemingly hopeless, and embarrassing a first draft can be. I thought I understood around . . . oh, draft nine’ish. But when I wrote another story, completely unique in every way, that’s when got it: there’s knowing/ignorance . . . and there’s knowing/accepting. Think of it like this, you know when you put on jeans after the holidays, and you’re expecting them to be snug . . . but you’re not expecting to flop down on the bed . . . a white-knuckle grip on a pair of pliers . . . holding your breath . . . and wrestling the zipper up? But then you experience this situation and you can no longer deny that your holiday experience . . . changed you. See? Knowing/ignorance . . . Knowing/Accepting.
Well, unknowingly, all of my cutting away words and reshaping sentences and plots during revisions led me from ignorance to the precipice of acceptance, which allowed me to see my mistakes and have some ideas about how to fix them. Good, right? Yes. No. It’s complicated. I mean, knowing how to fix errors is great! (YAY!) BUT, wanting to fix them the second I saw them . . . (Booo!!!) AND in my mind, there should be no errors, if I’m really learning. (Dang ‘should’) My days of feverishly typing great ideas in draft one, became days of feverishly typing ideas in draft one. And knowing that, experiencing that while it happened . . . was hard and painful, to accept.
For many, (I’m in this group) the rift between ignorance and knowledge/acceptance appears mammoth, gargantuan, colossal . . . any word that means real freaking big. For many, the space appears so vast that when they attempt to traverse it, they lose site of their destination. They become lost. They drift away. Those who make it across are not special or superhuman. Yet, those who make it do possess something. Something rather basic. Look at the quote again. See it? The word is used twice. Passion. Without that, you got . . . well, probably not a long writing career. Passion makes the seemingly insurmountable suckitude of the first draft merely an obstacle designed to challenge and push you beyond your comfort zone. As I stare at my draft of my latest work in progress, I cling to my passion, see the obstacles . . . and now, I merely need to accept the challenge . . .
*Art of Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking