Last week was the third anniversary of my Lisfranc injury. For most people, a broken bone is a six-to-eight-week experience from injury to recovery. But there's a reason I've had to keep track of this injury for so long.
When I got hurt, my orthopedist told me that 90 percent of people with this type of injury will heal without surgery. I followed his orders and stayed off my foot. Yet I was one of the lucky 10 percent who didn't heal on my own.
I tried everything I could to avoid surgery for almost a year. A podiatrist, shots (😬), physical therapy, the whole nine yards. But I ended up having to have a plate and nine screws put in my foot to fuse the temperamental joint. My orthopedist said we'd most likely be able to leave the hardware in place permanently.
You can guess where this is going, can't you?
The hardware poked and hurt and drove me crazy for months. A year after the first surgery, I had to have another one to remove the hardware.
What was the deal? I'd done everything my doctors had asked, yet I'd had one complication after another! As I thought about all the frustration, pain, uncertainty, and inconvenience of this experience, something powerful struck me:
Some things just take a long time.
If your writing is your career or you've been thinking about making it so, you've probably read some opinions about how fast you have to produce work. A book every six months, an article per day, or whatever.
Of course, keeping your word and meeting deadlines are important. But if your integrity, your paycheck, or something equally important isn't on the line . . . maybe you don't need to churn out writing as if you're a word-processing factory.
Quality takes time.
You'll likely get faster with experience. But if you feel like you're losing a race with a turtle right now, that's okay. I've taken anywhere from three weeks to four years to write the first draft of each of my screenplays, to say nothing of the time I've spent on revisions. Give your work the time it needs. Both you and the final product will be better for it.
(Thanks to Priscilla Du Preez for sharing their work on Unsplash.)