As I edit this, I’m taking a break from the final edits on the print edition of Pentatonic Visualization and working on the layout/order/edits of my Pentatonic Extraction book which should be out this fall.
That puts the tally to 3 books in 2011 (Melodic Patterns, Positional Exploration and Harmonic Combinatorics), 3 in 2012 (Chord Scales, and 2 short Kindle titles – An Indie Musician Wake Up Call and Selling It Versus Selling Out) and 3 in 2013 (Symmetrical 12-Tone Patterns, Pentatonic Visualization and Pentatonic Extraction) with a strong chance of another kindle book released this year as well.
While being able to call yourself an author seems appealing -working at this rate is arduous at best. When you don’t have a production house behind you – writing means taking on all of the menial tasks in getting a book out. In this case, even something like the Visualization make over has taken a month to get done and taking on the Extraction book involves massive edits, re-writes and a complete reformatting (typically involving a tedious cut/paste/format/edit workflow). The appeal of being an author becomes less glamorous when it takes days and weeks of mind numbing work to get the book out the door.
But here’s something I’ve discovered:
Many people want to get better at something.
They have access to materials.
They have access to knowledge.
They have the desire to move forward.
Even with all of that energy and good intention, in any endeavour most people won’t do the work over the long haul.
Because the work is not glamorous. It’s not always fun (though it’s usually nowhere near as bad as we make it out to be). It’s often tedious and time-consuming and isn’t there something better (read more enjoyable) to do?
The real pay off is in what happens in the focused work.
Jorge Luis Borges
It doesn’t matter which successful person you pick. Most people who succeed do so because in addition to the initial vision (inspiration) they also have the ability to go the extra distance and see something to its logical conclusion (endurance).
Don’t be afraid of the work. It’s where the nectar is. It’s where the magic is and…
when you truly devote yourself to your work – you work on yourself at the same time.
When you lose yourself in your work you’re really finding more of yourself. You have to have your eyes open to see that. You have to be open to that possibility to perceive that and you may not recognize it until later – but that connection ( or Csikszentmihalyi’s flow) carries through into other things.
A lesson from Borges
In the later years of Borges life (after his vision had gone), he would write whatever story or poem he was working on in his head and then spend some time editing and perfecting each phrase as an internal process. When it was done, he would call in his assistant and recite it in it’s final form to be transcribed and read back to him for approval.
Now 2 questions:
How many other people could write under those conditions? A few.
How many could write at his level? None…even with their sight.
He could have easily made excuses – writing in this fashion is incredibly difficult – but instead he put the effort in and continued to get his writing out into the world.
If you’re doing the work, you’re already ahead of the pack.
I hope this helps! Thanks for reading.
(Special thanks to Chris Lavender for some extra perspective and inspiration on this post)