"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets. For it, and knowledge can raise men to the divine."
- Ludwig Von Beethoven
This is the best quote I’ve ever seen about craft. I’ve been doing this writing gig for almost 12 years (though I wrote before, I just took long hiatus’ and not seriously pursuing publication). I now look back on my earlier attempts at writing, and ask myself “WTF were you thinking Lisa! This is the worst crap ever!”
It’s a journey, forcing your way into “…arts secrets.” Art comes in after the edit/rewrite phase; it’s where the manuscript comes alive, the story vivid and crisp. The first draft is called “rough” for a reason, it is the basis where art springs from, but by itself is not “art.”
The “knowledge” part comes in using plot, flow, setting, character, voice and structure. Like instruments in an orchestra that issue the notes on the page, the finished project is what the art is. Early attempts are just part of the process. You learn and grow as you find your voice. That unique part of writing that tells the stories you need to tell, the way you need to tell them.
Yet the “Divine,” eludes me. It is almost in my grasp; uncatchable, unobtainable to my still novice hand. I know what I want the final version to look like, but what I write/edit doesn’t match my vision of that divine. Sure I have been able to finish poems and short stories….the novel is what eludes me.
Perhaps this is the reason I find it hard to complete a novel? Find it hard to start-finish, because I’m afraid it won’t reach its divine potential? I am missing the spark of the divine, too tired to choose it, to find it within my grasping fingers. I am too much of a perfectionist, when it comes to my writing. I can’t just let it go. Though ironically, I wouldn’t have it any other way.