You'll Never Know Enough

Now he would never write the things that he had saved to write until he knew enough to write them well. Well, he would not have to fail at trying to write them either. Maybe you could never write them, and that was why you put them off and delayed the starting. Well he would never know, now.

-- Ernest Hemingway, The Snows of Kilimanjaro

I've been working my way through The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, and this quote nailed me. I have half a dozen unwritten stories and a dozen unwritten blog posts. I delay writing about technical topics until I know more. I defer penning my fictional fancies for fear of screwing up what seems to me to be a decent idea.

I imagine there's a more knowledgeable, more experienced version of me just waiting to take up the topic at some point in the future, but the reality is he only gets that way through the "practice of." In Kilimanjaro, Harry dies never knowing if he was competent to write the things he planned to write or not. Here's hoping I don't do the same.

My current strategy (at least for the blog) is to write less on any given topic but do it more often. Any other ideas?

Andrew Peterson in Concert

My wife and I saw Andrew Peterson in concert at Springdale Community Church tonight here in Louisville, KY. It was an awesome, small show in a pretty nice facility. It turns out a sizable portion of our church decided to show up, too... it was like an impromptu evening service. Smile

We got to hear some good stories about several songs that (to me at least) really made them come alive. It was great to hear the Scripture and Gandalf / Elijah comparisons that went on in Andrew's mind as he wrote All You'll Ever Need, and being a space nut I loved hearing his story of meeting an astronaut and writing Rocket in honor of seeing a shuttle launch.

Naturally, Andrew gave a quick plug for his Wingfeather Saga toward the end of the concert, and I enthusiastically cheered for them. (It's my moral duty as the owner of a fan site for the series. Wink )

So, we had a great time, and I got to pick Andrew's brain about writing after the concert. His advice? For him, he used three things to make it to the end of On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness:

  • Discipline
  • Audacity
  • Friendly competition (with his brother, author of The Fiddlers Gun)

He said that after you get your first book published, it starts to look more like a 9 - 5 job (assuming the publisher wants more). I'm not there yet, and I'm not sure I ever will be. In the meantime... anyone up for some friendly writing competition? Lol

I hear Michael Card a lot in Andrew... esp. regarding interacting with the Bible at the level of the imagination. Michael's quote that has stuck with me is also an inspiration to pursuing something like writing - "Always perform at the level of your own inadequacy." I think that falls under Audacity!