Thursday, February 20, 2014
Greatness Always Looks Easy
Then we got up and fetched a snack.
Of course we can't ever be like these champion skaters. Who wants to spend seventeen years perfecting death-defying moves that require another athlete's body being entwined with ours while circling an ice rink on a single blade?
Seventeen years. That's how long it took this talented duo to achieve their dream of standing on the Olympic winner's platform to earn the coveted gold medal.
Greatest always looks easy.
Any time we watch others succeed, whether they've earned a diploma, won a competition, or played on a champion team, we applaud the victory but not the sacrifice. We celebrate the rewards but not the time, talent, energy, and determination it took to get there.
The same is true for appreciating writers who toil and sacrifice to finish their novels. Unless you've ever labored over a mess of a manuscript, with its redacted pages, illegible notes, and yellow stickies, there is no way you could understand the tireless struggle to make the story meaningful and compelling. Or at least coherent.
When I am a prisoner to my work-in-progress- I feel torment, doubt, confusion, frustration and angst-- and that is only after the first few chapters.
That is why I'm both hurt and amused when readers think that my novels took a few months to write. At most they'll allow a year. Then I tell them that each one took two years... or four. And they look at me like I must be lying. How could a book they read in a few days take that long to create?
Well... let's not forget that the skating program that just earned a gold medal took seventeen years to perfect and it lasted a total of four minutes! Plus the skaters had the benefit of full time coaches and trainers, say nothing of family and friends (and fans) to help them through their injuries and exhaustion.
I'm not suggesting that writing a novel and being a champion skater require the same skills. I'm saying that to reach "the end", the game is the same. If you want it bad enough you'll find a way to persevere. It may be at a great price but the prize is eternal-- a living legacy to your courage and strength.
So maybe I'll never experience the joy of getting a gold medal, but I'm delighted to stand before a group of readers who applaud my jokes and ask about my next book.
And by the way. Cheers to anyone who is willing to fall a few million times in the hopes of succeeding.
Saralee Rosenberg is the author of four novels from Avon/HarperCollins including A LITTLE HELP FROM ABOVE, CLAIR VOYANT, FATE AND MS. FORTUNE and DEAR NEIGHBOR, DROP DEAD. Her latest project is a novel for younger readers, THE MIDDLE SCHOOL MEDIUM. Visit her website. www.saraleerosenberg.com