For those who don't know Gordon Ramsay, he is the revered chef who owns and operates some of the finest restaurants in the world, He also hosts some of the most entertaining cooking reality shows.
|Courtesy of LA Times|
I work from home often, and when I do, I watch Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares on BBC America as I eat lunch.
If there's one phrase to define him is "Quality without compromise."
He is a fanatic over the quality that goes into the food. The attention to detail is unparalleled (editing). He focuses on the customer (reader), and the appropriateness of the food given the clientele (genre).
In Kitchen Nightmares, he enters restaurants that are struggling... no, I'm being kind. Some are atrocious and you wonder what it will take to turn them around.
He satars by ordering the signature dish... and nearly vomits. Then he observes the kitchen in action--the management, the leadership, the effectiveness of the staff. He studies the competition, then looks at the menu. He has a multi-faceted approach to turning around nightmares into dreams come true. And if they listen to him, they will succeed.
The one thing that always shocks me is that he is there to guide the chef/owner--he is their master Yoda. He points out, in painful detail, what needs to be done. And invariably, the chef eventually reverts to their stupid ways of being.
The fundamental element in Ramsey's approach is quality control.
As I ate Nutella for lunch (don't judge me! and don't tell my wife) I watched an episode where Ramsay went off the rails on the owner/chef.
He was yelling, nearly spitting in the guys face. "Have some f---ing pride!"
As a writer, who aspires to be a published novelist, I take his point to heart. I have printed these words (without the f'ing part since my eight year old may be curious and my wife will kill me) and have hung it on my office wall.
We must have pride in what we do. We must play this game all out or risk living life wondering what went wrong.
It is harder than ever to get published. What would have been acceptable lapses in the past, is now your nail in the coffin. Assume that the current state of your manuscript is exactly how it would get published. Would you be happy? Truly happy?
If you tell yourself, "the editor will help me out with this problem," then you've already lost. If you second guess a scene, but choose to ignore it, then you might as well uninstall Scrivener, give your books to the nearest library and focus on your day job. You need to produce the absolute best product you can create.
Yes, it is a subjective world, and what I may think is great, you will think is an appropriate toilet paper substitute.
But your perception of your work must be as objective as possible. No compromise.
If you have a doubt--a nano-second of hesitation, then please do yourself a favor and address it. Know that you did it all, everything within your power to make it happen. Because if you do, then you can rest your head on the pillow knowing that you did not compromise yourself, your story and your characters. You were true to your craft.
You showed pride.
Fight the good fight!