Sunday, June 5, 2011

Limitations? The Sky's The Limit

"The level of our success is limited only by our imagination..." Aesop
Limitations. Sigh. My limitations smack me around on a daily basis.  The trick is to fight back. Pick up the pen, brandish it like a sharpened sword,  and push the attack back while your brain sorts out the mess of characters, plot, subplots and pacing. Be gone, Philistines! I have work to do!
Limitations can present themselves in many forms.  One of my biggest limitation bugaboos is time.  So many ideas, so little time. Another is energy.  What’s that old saying? The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.  That’s me. My spirit is willing to stay up all kinds of hours to write, but, alas, my body and brain cave long before the spirit – and almost always win.
If I have one glaring weakness in my writing, I feel it’s my prose. It’s not bad, but there is so much room for improvement you could hold the Super Bowl in the vastness of my need to improve. It’s not uncommon for me to pick up a beautifully written novel and be struck dumb by the prose. I’ve even been known from time to time to wail in a pained voice:  “I’m a hack!” Although I do try to confine those moans to home.  However, I refuse to call this shortcoming a limitation.  “Limitation” to me means there are definite boundaries to the skill – a virtual chain link fence topped off by razor wire – with no opportunity to improve. No, my prose is not a limitation.  It’s a challenge. Like improving your time in a race. Or a better golf score. There’s always room to improve if you apply yourself.
My writing is a work in progress. Not just the current WIP – the novel I’m working on at the moment – but my entire writing career is a work in progress.  And I believe it should be for all authors.  If I’m going about it correctly, every book I write, every book I read, should be enhancing my craft and smashing through those pesky limitations into the blue sky above.


Michael Wiley said...

A nice post, Sue Ann. I like the Aesop line. One of my favorite lines from Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell is "What is now proved was once only imagined."

Reece said...

I don't think there's such a thing as a perfect novel, so I guess that means that there are no perfect writers, either. So we're all in the same boat, trying to overcome our limitations without driving ourselves insane in the process. Good post, Sue Ann!