This time the revisions are going to do the trick. This time, I'll get the book right.
This mountain is the last in the range I have to climb. Then I'll be there.
Or so I tell myself.
I've told myself this before. On the last mountain. In fact, I've been telling myself since the first mountain. Just one more step. That will be enough.
Only, it's never enough. It's still not right. There's a mountain after this one. And another mountain. And another. The truth is, I have no idea how many more mountains I have to cross till I'm over the range. I thought the journey would be so much easier when I started out. If I had known how far I had to go, what a truly awful writer I was and how hard it was to become a good writer, would I have been able to start out on that journey?
Learning to write has taken me the same amount of time -- and effort -- and possibly even money -- as going to med school. For no degree and a lot less profit. If I had known that, might I have just elected to become a doctor instead? (Certainly, this is the point Certain Relatives kept trying to impress upon me.)
What if I had known how bad I was at the beginning, back when only adoring parents and teachers read my stuff and proclaimed me the Best Writer Ever? While highly unlikely it would have launched my medical career, it's possible I would have been too depressed to write. As it was, I had the immunity of youth. I heard people say you had to write a million words of dreck -- the equivalent of ten 100,000 word novels -- before achieving anything even close to mastery. Being a teenager, I assumed I was exempt. Because I was so good, you see. Natural talent would make it unnecessary for me to work as hard to achieve as much as soon as other writers. I still planned to work hard, but more from noblesse oblige than need.
I like to think that, if nothing else, I've learned to be able to hear how much further I still have to go without giving up.
Or maybe I'm just still trying to paint one leaf.