Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Patience & Writer's Hubris

I am often afflicted with what I call "Writer's Hubris," and from what I've read I think other writers are, too. It causes writers to send their work out to be considered for publication too soon. It might be a universal affliction; I don't know if it's catching. "Foolish pride?" "Dangerous overconfidence?" The concept of hubris comes from the myth where Icarus, against his father's advice, flies with wax wings too close to the sun. Luckily, this kind of hubris is not physically dangerous, it's just a case of infatuation with whatever the writer has just written. The exclamation, "This is the best piece, ever!" follows the writing. The writer is convinced that this is it, they've landed. This is the piece that will get published, win awards, get optioned by Meryl Streep. Then the adrenalin drops. Or maybe a month goes by. The writer returns and reads. Sometimes— often—almost always—this is an embarrassing moment. The work is okay. Maybe not so good. But one day it isn't. Because this time it's really true. It's great. It has a magical quality. The writer might not even remember writing it. How will you know? How do you know? You must wait. But while you are waiting you must also read and continue to write. Eventually, you will land.


Clara said...

Thanks for this, Alisa. For me, the message is that, hubris or not, we have to have the audacity to send our work out in the world. Hopefully, it's at its best; more often, it's not. I'd like to think that over time, we get better at determining where it is on that spectrum. But even if we never do, the confidence we build by trying, and learning to live with imperfections and rejections, is a valuable lesson.

Alisa said...

That's an inspiring message right there! Thanks for that!