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Writing badly is easy. You just open up the mental spigot and words flow out of your fingertips and pretty soon you’ve filled a bunch of pages.

Writing well is hard. You open up the mental spigot and words flow out of your fingertips and pretty soon you’ve filled a bunch of pages and then a couple of days later you re-read those pages and find two paragraphs worth keeping or two fine sentences worth sharing or the germ of an idea worth developing.

And if, heaven forfend, you are trying to craft a novel, then there should have been time on the front end where all you did was ponder plot and story and character, so that when you do sit down to begin writing, the architecture can sustain and direct the sentences and paragraphs poring out of your fingers.

When I see people promoting the idea that a novel can be written in 30 days, I think to myself, yes, of course, you can open up the spigot and the words will surely flow. But a brain dump is not a work of art.

All of which is my way of reminding myself to be patient. I can’t push this river.

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