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Monday, December 24, 2012

Paulo Coelho

"A boat is safe in the harbor.  
But this is not the purpose of a boat."

Brazilian Novelist
1947 -

Life is about balance, not extremes.  Sometimes we can be too careful.  We stay in  the harbor and never leave because we are afraid of what might happen out on the open ocean.  Sometimes we throw caution to the wind and venture into dangerous waters.  We behave in a reckless manner that endangers others as well as ourselves.  Too much of anything is harmful.  

So have you been sitting in the harbor too long?  Have you been waiting for the perfect wind so long that you have forgotten how to sail?  Or have you thrown yourself into an adventure without adequate preparation?  Are you seasick from the bumpy ride and looking for a safe harbor?  Life is about balance, not extremes.

Some writers sit on their manuscripts too long, wanting to make sure each word is perfect. I have read stories of writers making changes even as the book is headed to press.  Perfection does not exist.  We can always make changes in the next edition.  Other writers fail to put enough time into perfecting the manuscript.  They are sloppy.  Which are you?

Creative Practice
This week raise the sail on the boat that you have left in the harbor.  Prepare to sail into unknown waters.  Is there a manuscript you can send out that you have been unwilling to submit to the eyes of critics and editors?  Is there a painting that you have been wanting to complete, but have not had the courage?  Set sail for the unknown.

Background on Paulo Coelho
Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  He wanted to be a writer but his parents were opposed so he entered law school only to drop out after a year.  He traveled through South America, Mexico, Europe and North Africa.  Upon returning to Brazil, Coelho worked as a journalist, actor, songwriter and theater director.

In 1986, Coelho walked the 500-plus mile pilgrimage on the Road of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain.  Following the pilgrimage, he wrote his most famous book, The Alchemist, with a small Brazilian publisher.  The novel has sold more than 65 million copies and has been translated into 71 different languages.  He has published 30 books.