Friday, 9 September 2011

Work - it's a four letter word

Last week I spent a lot of money I don't have on miracle products that the hairdresser promised me would turn my hair from Anne Hathaway at the start of the Princess Diaries
On a good day
To glossy Kate Middleton-style locks
Dreamy, glossy locks
Apparently all I needed was an eighties style hot brush and some Moroccan oil, both of which he conveniently had to hand. Now, I am normally fairly astute where sales techniques are concerned - but not where my big, fizzy, unmanageable hair is concerned and I was soon handing over £13 for a tiny phial of oil and rather more for the eighties style hot brush. My hair still doesn't fall in glossy waves, for that I think I would need to be a New York style lady who lunches and book in for blow-drys. Not on my budget nor on my schedule.

What I really want is perfect hair that require NO effort. I want to wash, throw in some gunk and go. No hot brush or blow drying or work. I want it to be easy.

Of course if it was that easy we would all walk around with swishy hair and there would be no need for billion dollar industries promising us all frizz free glossiness. Papers wouldn't need to print pictures of supermodels on the school run to try and persuade the rest of us that we too need a yummy mummy outfit and perfect hair to drop our children off at school (I don't know about you but NOBODY turns up at my daughter's school looking like they are on their way to a photoshoot. Thank goodness). Looking effortlessly good takes a lot of hard work and time that I simply don't have or care enough about to do. Although I will hopefully buy horrendously expensive vials of oil.

Time for rather laborious and extended metaphor

The same applies to whatever you want to do in life. There will always be those who make it look easy, effortless. But just as those Daily-Mail-school-run-yummymummys have to get up obscenely early to work at that casual loveliness most of us have to work at what matters to us. And there are no shortcuts. No amazing vials of oil or hotbrushes to transform our work into something beautiful.

This week on Twitter that was a discussion about paid for editors. There are a lot of ways for aspiring writers to spend their money - conferences, memberships, courses - before adding professional editing in. And does it help? Would it teach you where you went wrong so you do better next time or would you always need the professional gloss put on your work? Donna Alward commented that her learning experience was "wash, submit, rinse, rejection - repeat" until one day she had learnt enough to succeed. But, all the professionals out there chorused, it is hard work. And there are no short cuts.

Any day now the postman will bring me that NWS report and I know that it is full of comments and advice and encouragement - and rewrites. I need to read, edit and rewrite, dig deeper, find that emotional conflict and really make it centre stage. Writing 50,000 words was just the beginning. Now the hard work begins. Meanwhile I have to take the 2500 words already written for New Voices, discard half of them and rework it. I don't want to. I wanted my writing group to tell me it was perfect the way it was, no more work required. Time to relax.

They didn't.

So today is a writing day. So far I have: drunk 3 cups of coffee, 1 cup of tea, read the paper online, rewrote an enquiry letter for friend, copyedited someone else's work, played on Twitter & FB, blogged. Not a bad morning's procrastination. Now I had better go off and do some actual, you know, *whispers* work...


Julia Broadbooks said...

Are you sure there's not an easier way? I wouldn't mind sitting here a while longer and having another cup of coffee. No easy answer?

Well, then I guess I'd better get to work.

Alexandra said...

I'd rather edit a photograph, it's easier. Resisting the urge. Instead, putting words onto screen. But now you come to mention it, I'm feeling a little thirsty. What? I can drink and write at the same time...? Oh heck... Words and work it is, then.