When I was young and naive and thought my fingers could type only diamonds, I was also delusional. But it wasn’t an unusual pattern for me. Almost everything I’d ever tried to accomplish needed to be done now.
In fifth grade, I wanted to play the piano but know how to play it instantly. Practice? Who needed practice?
In 7th grade when I was introduced to the wonders of the school’s sewing machines (huh? clothes didn’t magically appear at stores?) I got this urge to start sewing at home. It’d be fun! I’d have more clothes in my closet! So I got this really cute striped fabric and raced to get my little halter top done in a day like the pattern claimed I could. I’m thinking the pattern needed a disclaimer: Done in a day*
* if you know what you’re doing.
So by 8th grade, not only was I not playing like a concert pianist, but I was also not sewing any of my clothes. What I needed was to learn the fine art of patience.
When I finished the first draft of The Gollywhopper Games, I rushed through a “revision.” I just needed to smooth out some clunky and unclear language because I’d already typed diamonds, right? Fast forward, again, this time through countless rejections, after which I dropped that book like a sewing project. I’d moved on to other stories.
Several years later, though, I had reason to bring The Gollywhopper Games out of exile. That’s when I saw it all. I saw even more clunky language. I saw stilted dialogue. I saw scenes that didn’t work. I saw a hot mess.
Boing! It thwacked me in the head, adjusted my brain, turned on the lightbulb that said, “If you really want to do this, you need to do this right. You needed that time away from the manuscript; you needed distance from your gems. That’s why you can now see your story with the clarity it deserves.”
And I’ve been stepping away ever since.