A Life Lived in Drafts
When we live in drafts, every day is a new opportunity. Mistakes will be made; it’s difficult to accept that, and how we do it is up to us.
But when discipline returns you every day to the craft, you will improve. That improvement comes in addition to the mistakes. It will never be easy. It is not meant to be.
The only true way to improve is to keep coming back.
A life lived in drafts does not necessarily mean writing. Any activity that we want to master requires the same consistency in approach. We must keep coming back so that our drafts can improve. No one becomes an expert through returning to work once a week. No.
When it comes to creativity, specifically writing, the process is there, but usually ignored. Most get frustrated because writing takes a lot of time. We have to have enough time for our creative and critical eyes to come together in producing a final product. This can take years. Now, that is hard to swallow, but not impossible. Because once the process has been completed no matter how much time it took, the lessons have been learned. The next project should move faster. And if it does not, that is the indication that there is more to learn.
Let’s think about how we learned how to speak. We fumbled and mumbled for years learning how to communicate with others. Of course as toddlers we did not have the sense of embarrassment that we do as adults. Just think about the last time that you tried to learn a new language. While as an adult, you may be uncomfortable with your accents or lack of vocabulary, but as a child none of this affected you. You came back, every day, to make the same mistakes until the corrections stuck.
We all had to learn, and it was all a process. We share that. This same idea can be applied to any discipline in any craft. We just have to know how. And really, the way to do it is to do so without fear. Without mistakes nothing is gained. It is not the mistakes that truly discourages us, it is the reaction of others.
We are not our work.
We are individuals separated from it. No matter how good or bad we do something, it is only an indication of skill level — not our worth.
The worth we gain we do through process. The worth is personal. Take that into account and understand that the only way to achieve anything is to keep coming back day after day.
Time is our friend when it comes to process. We will be ready when we are ready. The only guarantee we have is that we will not ever be ready if we do not try.
And drafts are nothing but trying.