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I’m sorry if my plumber


is insulted, but I really


don’t care how he fixes


the leak!


     Often, for some curious reason, I’m asked how I write. 

     Two things happen.  One is that I wonder how it is that anyone cares about this.  I never, for example, asked my Father how he delivered mail.  I’m sorry if my plumber is insulted, but I really don’t care how he fixes the leak.  Why do you want to know this? 

     Two, my sarcastic self kicks into gear and wants to snap back little barbs like, “With my fingers!” or “Standing naked on a rooftop, balanced on one foot, and eating spoonfuls of wasabi while listening to reruns of Martha Stewart broadcasts from her prison cell,” or “Brilliantly!”or “With swoops and swirls and dotted bloodshot eyes!” 

     As truth would have it, though, the response I most frequently offer is the truth: “Over and over and over again!”  All writing is re-writing.  No one goes into a closet and comes out three hours later with a clean, first draft final copy of anything . . . FYI, a good seven-word billboard or commercial branding theme can take weeks of re-writing to be perfect.  Yes, even with Google’s help! 

     We don’t know a whole lot about Shakespeare, but we do know he edited and rewrote his masterpieces.  And Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the Constitution, the Magna Carta, even the bible didn’t simply pour out of magic pens.  Contemporary superstar writers John Grisham, David Baldacci, Dean Koontz, E. Annie Proulx, Kent Haruf, Cormac McCarthy, Richard Russo, and J.K. Rawling don’t just spit out final versions of their great commercial works. 

     It’s like anything else in life, Kiddo, I might pontificate to 30-somethings’ questions, you have to practice and perfect what you’re doing to get it right . . . and never–in Winston Churchill’s famous words– never, never give up!  

     Thomas Edison reportedly failed 10,000 times trying to invent a lightbulb (but relished telling his critics that he simply eliminated 10,000 possibilities before finding the answer). 

     Great athletes and performers don’t stroll into the spotlight and break records or ignite thunderous applause without first spending years of unheralded practice and paying of industry dues.

     Something about our instant gratification, quick-fix, disposable society dissuades us from facing reality, from thinking that hard work pays off and that practicing something over and over is a worthwhile endeavor.  But we must face reality, hard work does pay off, and practice does indeed (ask any Olympian) make perfect!  

     We have to fight the instinct to accept the attitude that evolves from a computerized world, to be forever in search of the easy way out, to be constantly taking the course of least resistance.  Water does this by flowing downhill, but people who “flow downhill” get caught up with the masses, and find it increasingly difficult to stand out, to get back up on top, to become the special someones they’re capable of being.

     For a writer, or anyone in pursuit of meaningful creative expression, tenacity, persistence and stick-to-itiveness . . . practice, practice, practice, and re-write, re-write, re-write . . . will win out every time!  Now, stop reading and get back to work!    halalpiar          

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