I almost forgot I had a blog post due today (thanks, Carla, for the reminder!). When I checked my iPhone and saw the message, I was at a Ricky Skaggs concert. Now, that may seem odd, but I have to say that I love live music and I'll try anything once (most anything). So, when my parents wanted my hubby and I to go along to this concert that featured bluegrass music, we said sure.
And it was fabulous. Ricky Skaggs has won 14 Grammy Awards. There's a reason for it. Even if you don't care for bluegrass, it's an incredibly complex music to play. And it takes practice. Tons and tons of practice.
Yet this man, and his band Kentucky Thunder, made it look so easy. Their fingers flew on those instruments, making things happen that was just incredible to hear and brought the audience to cheers more than once. Incredible stuff.
We left the theater amazed at how fast their fingers moved, and how smooth the music was. And since I knew I had a blog post to write, I started thinking about practice, hard work, and dedication. (And, in the case of those fingers, muscle memory.)
That's what it takes to play damn good bluegrass, and that's what it takes to write a damn good book. Those men made it look easy, and I think that's what a good writer does too. But it's not easy. The work, the sweat, the blood, the tears -- it's all in there. You don't see it on the stage, but it's there.
So when you're feeling the despair of rewriting a scene or chapter or book for the fifth time, remember that you're working on that muscle memory, that the more you write and revise, the better you'll get. Writing is a muscle and it must be exercised. No words are wasted, even when you're crying and wailing and thinking you suck worse than any writer has ever sucked before (believe me, I feel that at least once in every book!).
Because one day it's going to be you on that stage and you'll be thankful you practiced so hard and long, that your muscles are ready for the experience. You gotta pay your dues to make it look easy. Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder were a beautiful example of that.
So keep writing. Don't give up. Me, I've got revisions to finish. It's the practice I need to make it seem effortless when the reader is reading.
Are you working that muscle memory today?