The Sorcerer and the Apprentice

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“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
—Ernest Hemingway

Remember The Sorcerer’s Apprentice? Mickey Mouse played the part of the Apprentice in the Disney movie–Fantasia.  Mickey, the young apprentice of the sorcerer Yen Sid, attempts some of his master’s magic tricks after the man leaves for the night. he puts on the magic hat and commands the broom to do his work–carry water to the cauldron. Only something goes wrong. The broom doesn’t stop. So Mickey grabs an ax and chops it into pieces. Problem solved, right? Nope. The pieces turn into more brooms that bring in more water. He doesn’t know how to control them. Once the brooms start flooding the place, Mickey is over his head.

Sound familiar? We all say, “Oh, I could do that”, when someone else is doing it. “That looks easy” is another comeback. But is it? Mickey thought so, and look how that turned out.

Sitting down to write a book isn’t an easy task. I tried to talk myself out of it. I had an argument going on in my head as I walked to the computer. You can’t write a book. Who do you think you are? The other side of me pushed on. I have a good idea. I’ll start writing and see what happens.

The brooms kept bringing the ideas in and dumping them in my brain. Could I keep up? Sort them all out? Turn them into a book? There was no master handbook, no guide.

Well, what happened was my first published book, Waiting for Dusk. I still had a lot to learn, but I took the first step. I had no idea how many words were in a book when I first started writing, but I did know the genre—Young Adult. I thought I had a good handle of the English language, always getting good grades in the subject. But I had to look up and refresh my memory on many topics. Commas were the worst. So much to still learn!

When I finished the book, I felt proud. When I got my first edits, I cringed. How could I ever master the craft?

I don’t ever want to get overwhelmed like Mickey or in over my head. He couldn’t keep up with those brooms pouring water on the floor. Bucket after bucket kept coming. Thank goodness the sorcerer eventually showed up.

When writing a book, the sorcerer never shows up. I think that’s Hemingway’s point. There isn’t one designated master in the writing world. If there was, people would try to copy and we wouldn’t get diversity. Not everyone likes the same cup of tea.

Some people may rave over the recent bestseller, while others pan it. Writing is subjective. Everyone has their own opinions. So I say, keep writing. Strive to be the master, but never stop learning.

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