It’s Not a Microwave

I worked in an office where the heating unit had been recently replaced along with all the ducts and other heating/air conditioning elements. When winter rolled around, the heat sounded like it was on (like having a jet engine kick on just over head) except that you couldn’t actually feel air coming from the vent and the room never got warm. The maintenance man came out to inspect and after lots of “inspection” declared, “It’s not a microwave, ladies. You can’t just push a button and expect it to work right away.”

Of course… we’d been waiting 3 months for the damn thing to warm up…but I digress.

The point here is that some things aren’t a microwave. We can’t just hit a button and expect to get exactly what we want, when we want it.

Yet I’ve been treating my current writing like a microwave. I expect to sit down and type out a first draft in a day or two. And hey, while I’ve had some great 4500 word days… I’ve also had weeks where I wasn’t strict enough to get my butt in the chair and write. And then by rushing on those 4500 word days to get the whole draft out, I lose sight of my characters. …Now I’m rewriting the whole thing. Gah. Now I’m even further behind than if I’d just taken the slow and steady pace. It’s like getting a ticket when you’re trying to make it to work on time – you end up getting to work even later than expected.

I’m also guilty of falling into the trap of looking at all those successful e-book authors and seeing their craft as the result of a microwave. They just tapped out a book on their keyboard, uploaded it, and were overnight successes, right?

Wrong.

Though their success and book sales may look like overnight success to an outsider, when you actually learn about them, read their bios, and look at their long list of previous books, you realize that the majority of them have worked for years to get where they are. They’ve built up their book lists, worked on their author platforms, and have kept on typing along at a (generally) regular pace.

Writing is definitely not a microwave.

So maybe the maintenance guy had a good point, just on the wrong subject.

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