Southern Scotch

Southern Scotch

Monday, December 31, 2012

Mastering the Art of the Three-Section Clock

We all love Beginning Time in any thing we do.  If you've ever quit smoking, you'll smile and agree:  the opening rush is as good as it get:  that fabulous sense of adventure, the positive kick of commitment...the sure and certain knowledge that this, Yeah Baby, this is IT! And if you haven't quit the evil weed, you've quit or started something else and felt the same sensation.  You sure as hell have felt it if you've ever started a book.

But somewhere in Beginning Time,the sense of purity deserts us.  The great opening pages that came at our call...the almighty thrill of smoke-free air that made it a snap to swear Never again...We forget these things and look in horror at the looming outline of a great beast coming our way soon: the monstrous stretch of Middle Time.  Christ, Beginning Time was 50-75 pages...and now we're talking, like, maybe 200?  We see the mountains of creative earth that we must move and feel the exhaustion already.  Just as we would if we'd quit smoking and at the heady three-month mark we realized that our one-year anny was nine more months ahead.  Middle Time is where, more than ever, we need to focus on the process...and somehow learn to love the journey in each step we take.  To love the daily challenges, the little victories, even the fatigue.  If we don't love this part of the journey, our lovelessness will show in the final product:  in lack of attention to detail, loss of rhythm, missing zing.

End Time is glorious, but the temptation is enormous to hurry the process and finish the book, reach the one year anny, cross whatever finish line.  It's much shorter than Middle Time and that is sweet.  Plus End Time is attended by invigorating feelings of pride, accomplishment and joy.  But the best of it can still be lost if we let ourselves be rushed.  End Time, after all, brings us to a set of new beginnings:  the second draft...and the third...and the fourth...each of which have their three stages.

Let's enjoy each phase as best we can.  Our work will be the better for it if we treat every step of the journey with all due respect.

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