Speed vs Craft

Changestone banner copyI recently read The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics and was quite impressed with it. As it discusses the lives of the boys who rowed crew, it also discussed the person who made their racing shell – George Pocock. When Pocock was making his first boat for a race (he was the rower) his father gave him some advice. “No one will ask you how long it took to build; they will only ask who built it.”

That struck me, because I believe it’s also true in writing, at least for this stage of my career. It seems the only people interested in knowing how long a story took to write are other writers looking to learn the craft. They’re not going to be particularly impressed by how many or few hours went in to it. Most readers, if they like my stories, will only be interested in following my career so that they can read more.

And so, my time right now is spent on learning craft. I don’t care how many drafts it takes to get a story told as long as it gets told right. Speed can come later once I’ve mastered craft. Right now, if I were to focus on speed, my craft would suffer, and I won’t earn as many readers.

So, I will stop fretting about how many hours have gone into “Changestone” and if that means I will be able to earn minimum wage if it sells. Because I won’t earn anything if its not the best I can make it.


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