The Blog of Author Robert K. Lewis

Always Pay Attention to the Details! (Also Known as DON’T RUSH!)

So, I’m putting together my own telecaster copy, here. I’m almost at the final stage, where I am going to put it all together. Picture me at the work table, hunched over the neck, drilling the holes for the tuners…

… and the drill bit snaps off, right below the surface.

I was in a rush, you know? I admit it. The end zone was right there… and I tripped because rather than keeping my eyes on the pylons, I glanced up to watch myself on the Jumbotron.

And it can be that way with our writing, too. A lot of us writer-types do the first draft, then do what we con ourselves into believing is editing a couple more drafts, then send that puppy out, thus tripping up at the ten yard line, with the game winner within reach. We rushed ahead in our minds, thinking of how that agent will sign us and our book will go out and get picked up and then we’re onward to book signings and quitting our day jobs and, and, and… well, you get the idea.

Don’t do it, man. Keep your eyes on the book, not on how the book will be when it’s done. Keep your mind on your editing and polishing, not on how awesome it will be to have an agent, because… and trust me on this one, you can’t fool anyone except yourself. An agent will pick up on a weak character that just needed that one, last draft to make them shine. A publisher will see the flimsy braces you shoved under the foundation of your story. Again, trust me on this. I’ve been writing for over fourteen years now, and I totally cop to doing the “rush it out, con yourself” route. I think we all do that, in the beginning. It almost seems like a necessary part of the journey. The important part is moving beyond that phase.

Let me just type those two words one more time, and bold them for emphasis: DON’T RUSH.

Imagine all the characters in your book as “your team”, and they’re cheering you on from the sideline as you make it to the goal. Don’t start high-stepping and grandstanding until you’re IN the end zone, and that book is the best it can be. Not rushing shows a level of professionalism that WILL be recognized, trust me.

Now, how the hell do I get a broken bit out of a guitar neck?

RKL

4 responses

  1. Wise words indeed! (Not that I’ve ever done such a thing, of course. Never. Now you may want to stand over there so you’ll be out of distance when the lightning strikes.)

    It can be a difficult middle ground finding your best story between too little editing and too much. I think not rushing is the best advice because it gives you time to set your story aside for a few days/weeks/months and let it ferment while you clear your brain of it. When you hit it again, the rough spots stand out like they’re in neon.

    As far as the broken bit, I’d try squishing some play-doh or a rubber-cement ball in there and see if it sticks. That or one of those super magnets you see in adventure movies that can pick up an armored car. Those are awesome!

    11/15/2010 at 2:57 pm

  2. Hey, thanks for stopping by! Yeah, you know what I’ve found? That no matter how long I let a book sit between drafts, I could have let it sit a little longer, and that’s only something I realize AFTER I’ve finished another draft, lol!

    Crazy thing, this writing.

    I LOVE the idea of the rubber cement. I wish that would work. It might be possible to super glue something to the end of the bit, but I dunno. I’m bringing it in to the woodshop to see if they can help me.

    11/15/2010 at 7:23 pm

  3. Dude, you can BUY a perfectly good one that works flawlessly for $250 or less!

    11/27/2010 at 6:16 pm

  4. You obviously have not ONE artistic bone in your body, sir! 😉

    11/27/2010 at 6:51 pm

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