Before Coffee: Serendipity

August 8, 2016 § Leave a comment

Full disclosure: I have never read anything by Malcolm Gladwell and can’t even name a book of his off the top of my head. Punching his name into the face of the hive mind, I see he writes non-fiction, which explains the dearth of Gladwell titles on my Goodreads list.

I saw the quote below today, though, and it hit me at just the right time. I’m feeling guilty for a total lack of movement on the novel-in-progress, especially since I spent a great chunk of hours yesterday working up a D&D game to run next Saturday. Part of the reason I’m not making eye contact with the manuscript is that I’ve been feeling it’s irredeemably awful.

So Gladwell’s words simultaneously give me hope and make me want to saw my head off with a bread knife. Because the thought of trudging through five more drafts of this book, regardless of how good it might be on the other side, is just more than I can bear right now.

Of course, Gladwell stops short of saying anything about the drafts after Number Eight. Maybe nine through sixteen are mediocre, seventeen through twenty-four are almost good, etc. Where does “publishable” fall on that timeline? Where does “great” show up? Draft 64? Draft 80?

I suspect innate talent enters into it at some point. Writing may be a skill that can be honed with practice, but something tells me you don’t become Shakespeare just by rewriting your manuscript 120 times.

-The first eight drafts are terrible.-


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