When I teach exam students singing, I spend twenty minutes of the lesson doing everything other than teaching them their song. We mark the theory homework. I ask them a series of theory questions and time them in their answers. We do a warm up, and I harp on and on about breathing, about the positions of the articulators, about the need for large, fat vowels. After this, we progress to sight-singing. The student sings something they've never seen before, just by reading the music. We study the exercise first, and then the student attempts it to piano accompaniment. Following this, we do aural - or musical ear - tests. And finally ... finally, we reach the part of the lesson where a song is sung. And then I proceed to apply absolutely everything we've talked about prior to this point to the song that is being sung.
The preparation time has made the point of the lesson - the excellent singing of a song - an easier target to reach.
In the family TV show Cosby, Bill Cosby as Cliff Huxtable tells a fictional story about how he wanted to learn the drums. The teacher made him sit there and bang once with the right hand and once with the left - once with the right, once with the left ...
I suppose what I'm saying is that sometimes we have to wade our way through the boring stuff to get to the good stuff. I've seen a lot of authors get super excited over an idea they've had about extraterrestrial warfare or something like that. They dash off, write a novel, and then shove it under publishers' noses. Even if they did get the contract of their dreams, would everything be as good as they expected? I'm guessing not, unless they have low expectations. They didn't edit. They wrote once - rapidly and possibly shabbily - and then they sent out the work to professionals, thereby creating for themselves the reputation of a half-baked author. If the work was published, would it stand the test of time? Would it attract a readership that was educated and - after reading - edified and entertained? In my opinion, it is unlikely.
To get to the fun stuff, we have to wade our way through the boring parts. It's just how life goes. Being a writer is not an endless game of excitement - new drafts, new story ideas, fabulous stuff that's never been done before, all the time. Being a writer is being able to finish a draft. Then it's being able to rewrite a draft. Then it's being able to edit that draft, over and over and over. A good writer cannot simply write. A good writer must perfect also.
This is why I spend hours and hours of my life editing. I'm slower than a lot of authors, and I party less at my desk. But I believe the product will be worth it. I believe the mental exertion and discipline will make me a better thinker and person. I want my work to last.
I read this somewhere, and I believe it is attributed to Stephen King: "To write is human. To edit is divine."
Amen, my brother. Amen.