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Book Review: Travels in Elysium

All Things in Good Time

To everything, there is a season.  (Can't write that without hearing Turn! Turn! Turn! in my head.  See below.)

It's important not to rush.  And yet, sometimes, things (like writing) happen really fast.

I'm just full of fun paradoxes today.

Don't Rush

This post's impetus grew from an email conversation I was having with a friend.  We were talking about the timing of a forthcoming introduction, whether we should do it now or wait.  And I found myself typing, "If there's one thing I've learned, it's not good to rush."

The art of timing--which sometimes means being patient--is something I've had to learn over my years as a writer.  Too often, I've rushed submitting a project because I was excited about it--but because I rushed I got rejected.  The work wasn't ready.

How many times have I dashed off an email, and in my haste to get it done, left off things I wanted to say?  Too many to count.  Way too often I end up sending a "PS."  When, if I'd just waited and given myself time without rushing I would have remembered in the first place.

I see this with other writers, too.  Sometimes I see it in the work that is submitted to me--when a manuscript is full of typos and misspellings I know the author has rushed.  Or when a new writer, who has barely completed one project yet, starts asking me about agents, I know he or she is rushing things.

It's easy to understand why--we want success and we want it now!  We want people to read our novels because having readers is the end point of the communication loop that comprises writing.  We want to finish the dumb email so we can get to the important things, like writing.  And yet, rushing things through has never resulted in a successful result, as far as I can tell.

Let Things Happen Fast

On the other hand, things can and do happen fast upon occasion, and even fairly often.   All of a sudden, inspiration strikes, and before you know it, you've written a chapter and it's not half bad. You dash off the perfect email, write the meaningful blog post in the 20 minutes you have before an appointment.

The trick here, clearly, is to be able to tell when something that happened fast is good and when you were just rushing.

One Word: Discernment. 

I think discernment is something that writers develop over their writing lives.  When you pay attention, you start to get an innate sense of whether something is working or not (I try to stay away from labeling work "good" or "bad.")  The key concept of discernment is paying attention.  And when you're paying attention, you're not rushing, even if the work came out fast.

So, all things in good time.  To everything there is a season.  That can be comforting to remember when you are in the middle of a long slog of a project.

Have you had an experience of rushing, or writing something good really fast?  Please share.

And, as inspiration today, here you go, The Byrds, singing Turn, Turn, Turn:

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