Vision is ahead of execution

I am fretting.

About what? You ask.

About this gosh darn middle grade novel I am writing. You see, I have never written a novel before. A whole 24,000 plus word novel. I am fretting because I’ve never done it before. And because I’ve never done it before, I am thinking I will fail because I have never done it before.

You see? Fretting.

Once again David Bayles and Ted Orland’s marvelous little book Art & Fear comes to the rescue. And this bit of wisdom in particular:

“Vision is always ahead of execution, knowledge of materials is our contact with reality and uncertainty is a virtue.”

Think about that: “Vision is ahead of execution.” That means the idea, the character, the thought, whatever brings us to the paper or blank screen probably won’t be perfect on the first go round. Does that mean we quit? No. It means we write. We take authority for our vision, however fledgling, however new, and begin.

“Knowledge of our materials is our contact with reality.” As writers, our materials are the books. This means reading. This means reading like a writer. This means reading and, as Eudora Welty says “writing consciously with the subconscious voices of the writers who came before us.”

“Uncertainty is a virtue.” We are explorers. This means we will always be slightly off balance. This means we will write from a place of discovery.

As explorers on the edge of something new, the experience is apt to be a wee bit fretful.

Fear not. This is normal.

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