Out of my Depth

Posted in HH Dalai Lama, Life in general, On writing, Writers at 8:01 am by Marion

It’s back to work today … Monday arrives with a vengeance … and with it, a familiar lament that often, for weeks (years) at a time, work obligations keep me from the novel. So much energy goes in to getting back in the soup of writing that once I’m out of it, I just stay out. There are writers who say they plug away at their work an hour each day … I find that in an hour, I’m able to remember my characters and roughly what they were doing when we last spoke … then it’s time to get back to the professional work.

There’s also the energy that goes into writing. It’s widely known that some people have nearly boundless energy … these folks took 18 and 21 hours in undergraduate school, while I kept with 12 and 15. That relates to my approach to any topic … I will dig in and root my way back to the surface, from the inside out, until I know everything about the topic. My grades were generally high, which reflects my thinking about knowledge at the time: Quality over quantity.

These days, I’ve learned to skim through some things. I’ve learned to clean the house quickly. I’ve learned to tear through some books at a clip, as well. It’s because these days, I have more of a base of knowledge to start from.

At the same time, other books take weeks to read. Anything by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, for instance will take a long time. His ideas are complex, and generally require time away from the book to absorb them and work them into my views and habits.

At the same time, many books I can pick up and get the gist of. Some books aren’t worth picking up (sorry, dear authors, but you know it’s true).

So today as the week opens, I’m likely to be pacing myself through many writing tasks, some of them with depth and passion, other, leaner assignments, with a view to getting them completed. In neither case do I spare quality. It’s an approach, a manner of competence, I certainly didn’t have 30 years ago.

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