Of new worlds and workhorses

This little essay is a lovely epiphany from the collective minds of two wonderful (and very different) writers, Elizabeth Gilbert and Haruki Murakami. But Gilbert forgets to mention a key virtue of the ‘workhorse’ style of writing: that acknowledging that the creation of art is a slow process, something you execute one plodding step at at time, frees you to be particular.

Racehorses pounding their way to a spectacular finish might, magically, turn out to be the epitome of elegance. But it’s the difference of a touch of the gods between that and failure or disaster, or just a big muddy mess.

A novel is an enormous, complex creation, replete with its own world and inhabitants dancing their way through a coherent plot infused with power and significance. For most of us, creating something like that takes time, and attention, and lots of slow, deliberate paces forward. You keep at it day after day for as many months, or years as it takes, and in the end it’s there. Not perfect, maybe. Not the product of the raw, furious passion of the muse. But there.

Happy scribbling, friends.

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