Doing what comes naturally is easy. We can play from our strengths all day long. But playing from our strengths isn’t going to make us great. If we aspire to greatness we’re going to have to learn to work through our weaknesses. Albert Berg, The Insanity Files
Many of us grew up with the clean plate rule – eat everything on your plate, whether you like it or not. In his blog post entitled, “Eat Your Lima Beans: The Importance of Becoming the Writer You Aren’t,” Albert Berg reflects on this edict, and notes that, in retrospect, his mother was teaching him an important life (and writing) lesson, i.e. it’s just as important to do the things you don’t like, as to do the things you love.
Perhaps its even more important. After all, the effort involved in doing the things we love is mitigated by the pure pleasure we get from doing them. But the effort we must put forth to accomplish tasks which don’t come naturally, easily, or happily, is much more difficult to bear.
When it comes to writing, my “lima beans” are definitely the revision process. I have no problem getting started, getting words on the screen, but when it comes to revising, every word sticks in my throat. I realize that most of my difficulty lies in being unable to discern what’s good and what isn’t, so I’m never sure where to start the revision process.
The writer I am is great at getting the story out there. The writer I’m not is the one who can go back and refine it into pure literary gold.
How about you? What are the “lima beans” of your literary life? What can you do to make them palatable?