21st Century Brontë #13
Trust The Process
My editor asked me to write about what I’ve learned about writing since starting 21st Century Brontë. Initially, I thought of a kid reading her book report to the class. I was Stan or Kyle at the end of an older episode of South Park, summarizing my experience with a moral that began with “You know, I learned something today…”
Except life doesn’t consist of 22 minute long episodes. There aren’t any commercial breaks to ruminate over the events that transpired. And at first I couldn’t begin to think what to write. This is the thirteenth post, and this question left me with a blank mind and a mouth dumbly agape. I felt like I regressed as a writer, and in my work life.
An analogy of second graders learning math problems helped me understand my growth. My friend Sammie explained that she tested her class’s understanding of math concepts by giving her students some harder problems. She found that there were several students who, for simpler problems, knew how to reach the answer as well as mimic the work to reach it. But they were clueless on how to solve more complicated problems.
“The problems weren’t especially complicated at all,” she explained, “If students understood the process of solving the problem, they could achieve the answer.”
Although this blog went live in November, discussion for it began months before the launch. I was afraid of not having anything profound to say, that people would see me as a poseur. I was told that I did not need to write anything literary, but just what was on my mind.
A less daunting task, but then the fear of being dull began to freak me out.
I soon came to realize that I was really good at fabricating excuses, but with a deadline looming over my head, I needed to write something. I received that something back, bleeding out with all the red edits. My editor told me told me not to panic.
That initial draft laid the foundation for my first post. My anxieties are part of a routine now, familiar enough to override because of the value of the final product.
I forget so easily that the books, shows, and anime that I marvel at are the finished products of hours of trial and error, second-guessing, and many, many drafts that could’ve been bleeding from all the edits. The final product doesn’t just happen, and I think I’m becoming comfortable in knowing that I really know comparatively little. All I can do is write it the best I can.
At this point I don’t believe there’s anything to be ashamed of. The definition of adult is to be fully grown and developed physically, or to be mature and sensible mentally. Alas, I don’t believe I’m getting any taller in this lifetime, so this is it: I’ve already achieved adulthood simply by aging. This doesn’t sound like a big deal unless it’s broken down:
I’ve been alive for nearly twenty-four years, each comprised of 365 days excluding leap years, broken down into 8670 hours, and so on and so forth.
When I was a kid I never thought I’d be this age, not because I’d die but because I couldn’t fathom becoming someone my mother or my grandfather or my teachers identified with. So this is simultaneously not a big deal, but still really awesome now that I’m here as well.
So I guess I did learn something today. Buckle down and work, and try to understand the process while you do so.
Brontë Bettencourt (Episode 34) graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelors in English Creative Writing. When she’s not writing or working, she is a full time Dungeon Master and Youtube connoisseur.