Have you ever heard the story of the giant ship engine that failed? The ship's owners employed one expert after another, but none of them could figure out how to fix the engine.
Finally they brought in an old man who had been fixing ships since he was a youngster.
He carried a large bag of tools with him, and when he arrived, immediately he went to work. He inspected the engine very carefully, top to bottom.
Two of the ship's owners were there, watching this man, hoping he would know what to do. After looking things over, the old man reached into his bag and pulled out a small hammer. He gently tapped something.
Instantly, the engine lurched into life.
He carefully put his hammer away. The engine was fixed! A week later, the owners received a bill from the old man for ten thousand dollars.
“What?!” the owners exclaimed. “He hardly did anything!”
They wrote the old man a note saying, "Please send us an itemized bill."
The man sent a bill that read:
Tapping with a hammer ….. $ 2.00
Knowing where to ................ $9,998.00
It took that man a lifetime to learn “where to” and that is what his clients were paying for. Considering that a lifetime was involved in learning that skill, the bill was relatively inexpensive!
Professionals have spent years learning, either from others or from themselves, by practicing the same skills over and over until they become second nature.
Effort is important, but knowing “where to tap” or place that effort is the key to “working smart.”
That’s what experience is all about, and why a professional writer is an expert revisionist and re-writer.
“You’ll do it until you get it right” is a way of stating that the real writing experience occurs during the process of revision.
As a publisher, often I receive manuscripts from individuals who tell me their work is “the word of God and is not to be tampered with.”
Of course their work is the word of God.
All writing is! How could it be otherwise, if you and we and all humans are God’s creatures—divine sparks or “part-whole, whole-part of that great Creator of Us All”?
If these writers are attempting to say their work was divinely inspired, I will agree with that statement as well.
Creatures who have been created by a divine being will deliver work that is “divinely inspired.”
Also, if we take the word “inspired” literally, we are referring to the process of spiritual intake. Breathing is the activity of “in-spiring” or taking in oxygen.
We express ourselves or deliver pictures, thoughts and feelings after we have impressed these energy forms upon our conscious and unconscious minds. We then feel inspired to express our impressions.
The process of being impressed and expressing, or being inspired and delivering our impressions to the external world, is a basic description of the activity of creative writing.
Again: The Pros... and The Cons... which are you?