Category Archives: practice

>High Maintenance

>I hate nail polish.

I love the way nail polish smells, fresh from the bottle.  I love watching the lively color glide from the brush to a bisque nail, empty and ready for some pizazz.  Some oomph.  Everything looks wonderful for the first 6 hours.  Maybe, if I’ve got a great top coat, my nails might last a day or so.

It’s all over when the first chip happens.  Then they look like exhibit A.

That’s 24 hours later.  All that hard work of getting the polish on perfectly for such a temporary pleasure.  Now they look terrible and I can either leave them plain or do it all over again.

As I sat here looking at my ruined manicure, I realized I’d probably have longer lasting results if I went to an expert.  They do something that makes the polish stick better or stays chip resistant longer.  But, if I did that, I wouldn’t have the satisfaction I get when I do decide to paint my nails.  That first second when everything is new and shiny and it’s because I did it myself.  Even if a couple of hours later I have a flaw in the works and the frustration of not being good enough sets in.

My approach to writing is just like that.  When I read published books, sometimes I wonder if I’m going to get there, if I’m just throwing away the words on paper, deleting them when I find the inevitable flaws.  Whole sections started chipping and needed to be wiped clean.  When I look at books written by those who’ve broken through, I wonder if I should leave it up to them and simply enjoy their perseverance.  It’s far easier to read an enjoyable novel than it is to write one.  But then I wouldn’t have that moment.  And I write for that moment above anything else.

Writing is high maintenance.  Lots of chipping.  Lots of effort swept away in a moment to make room for a better polish.  One of these days,  I’ll be able to make the words last longer.  And all shiny.  Red optional.