The Consequences of Hastiness

24 Oct

“There are consequences to being hasty, Bill.”

Words spoken by my Uncle Jim when I was, gosh, maybe eight years old.

My Uncle Jim was a dredger by trade and a carpenter in his spare time.  Carpentry was his love; dredging put food on the table.  He would be gone to Alaska for three or four months each year, helping to dredge out harbors for the towns up there, and then he would return to Tacoma and build things in his garage.

Sometimes I’d go in the garage and watch him.

I loved the smell of newly-cut wood.  Loved watching him work with the grain, and listening to him talk to me about lumber being a living thing, and watching him take pieces of wood and create something beautiful from them.

One day I asked him if I could build a toy boat and he said his garage was my garage, as long as I remembered to put all the tools away where they belonged . . . very important to him, returning those tools.

Well I was in a hurry to slap that boat together, so I did the job as quickly as possible, finished it, put the tools away, rode my bike down to the waterfront, and set it in the water for its maiden voyage.

I think it might have sailed ten feet before a wave capsized it and it sunk.

Back to my Uncle Jim I went, totally pissed and swearing to never again try my hand at carpentry.

“There are consequences to being hasty, Bill,” he said.  “The key to a sea-worthy boat is not in what you see but rather in what you don’t see.”  He then went on to explain ballast and how it works, how a ship’s hull is not solid wood but rather it is the air inside the hull which actually keeps a ship upright and functioning properly.

“You would have known these things, Bill, if you had taken the time to ask.  Don’t be in such a hurry to learn.  Take your time and learn properly.  There’s joy in the process if you are willing.”


I was thinking about that time last week when someone asked me what was the secret to success in writing?  My answer to that person is the same as my uncle’s answer many years ago.  Don’t be hasty!  Take the time to learn the craft of writing.  Learn how good writing works.  You can’t fake it.  You can’t pretend.  Good writing is good writing is good writing, and fakers, and those in love with shortcuts, need not apply.


My new book is out, “Shadows Fall On Rosarito“….check it out!

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

28 Responses to “The Consequences of Hastiness”

  1. Janine Huldie at 2:04 pm #

    Love how you applied your Uncle Jim’s words about being hasty to writing here today. Definitely solid advice for many of life’s lessons, as well as writing. So great way to contrast it here. Happy Tuesday now once again 🙂

    • Billybuc at 2:06 pm #

      Thank you Janine and a very Happy Tuesday to you as well.

  2. Susan Zutautas at 2:28 pm #

    What a wise man your uncle was. Such nice memories too. Have a great day Bill!

    • Billybuc at 2:48 pm #

      I do have good memories, Susan. I’m a lucky man, and thank you for reminding me.

  3. Lawrence Hebb at 3:01 pm #

    This reminded me of my Dads garage, some of the tools were antiques themselves, each got used, cleaned, oiled and put back.
    He also had a favourite saying i often gear myself saying, and I seem to use it more as I get older, “If you’re going to do the job, do it once, and do it right”
    As the old carpenter used to say, “measure twice, cut once!”
    Great thought for the day.

    • Billybuc at 4:15 pm #

      Exactly, Lawrence. We came from the same stock, my friend, and the lessons learned are timeless. Thanks for the comment.

  4. froggy213 at 3:51 pm #

    You are soooo correct here Bill. I have caught myself being hasty and delivering sub-par material. Not taking the time needed and ensuring we put out our best just harms our reputation and worse yet, our pride in ourselves. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Billybuc at 4:15 pm #

      You and me both, Greg. I still catch myself about once a week being in too big a hurry.

  5. 1authorcygnetbrown at 5:53 pm #

    I think I remember it said once that it takes writing a million words before you can publish your first book.

    • Billybuc at 6:03 pm #

      I think that sounds about right…or write! LOL Thanks for that, Donna!

  6. Mike at 8:56 pm #

    Hi Bill – Sounds like Uncle Jim is/was quite the philosopher. It is good to have a philosopher around. It is the next best thing to a writer, or are they one and the same. Good also to see the link to your new book. Sharpening marketing skills is also important.

    • Billybuc at 2:20 am #

      Thanks Mike! It’s a good thing I have low expectations about sales or I’d be a candidate for the State Hospital.

  7. Sally Gulbrandsen at 11:13 pm #

    A short post but one of your best Billy. Your Uncle Jim sounds very much like my Dad, such a special man!

    • Billybuc at 2:21 am #

      Thank you Sally! I grew up around some very special people, as you did I’m sure.

  8. Sageleaf at 11:07 am #

    First, CONGRATS on the new book! And you made me think of Gertrude Stein’s poem, “Sacred Emily”:
    Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose
    Loveliness extreme.
    Extra gaiters,
    Loveliness extreme.
    Sweetest ice-cream.
    Pages ages page ages page ages.

    All these years of meditation have definitely taught me what patience means, but even still, it’s always good to have a gentle reminder in the remarkable words of a friend…

    • Billybuc at 1:35 pm #

      Awww,thanks to you, Lil Sis, and to Gertrude Stein. 🙂 That is sweet of you, further proving I have the best Lil Sis in the world.

  9. rollyachabotbooks at 6:59 pm #

    Hi Bill:

    Awesome life lesson here that can and will apply to all you do in life. My heart sank at the thought of you losing your prize boat… but then came the reward in hearing Uncle JIm and his wisdom filled words… well done my friend.

    Hugs and blessings from Alberta

    • Billybuc at 9:29 pm #

      Rolly, as far as I know, that boat is still at the bottom of that lake. LOL Right where it belongs, my friend.

      Peace and hugs from Oly

  10. Andrea Stephenson at 4:58 pm #

    Another great story and lesson Bill, it seems your life has been full of those learning moments that you’ve been able to apply to other areas.

    • Billybuc at 2:59 pm #

      Thank you Andrea! I am blessed that I can still remember the stories. For that I am grateful.

  11. manatita at 6:06 pm #

    Cute ending. Your craft is a soaring as ever. Great!!

    • Billybuc at 1:52 pm #

      Thank you my friend! Blessings to you always.

  12. Sarah Potter Writes at 4:23 pm #

    Sorry Bill, somehow I missed this post. Not sure how, but here I am now! This story is a wonderful example of “more haste, less speed”. Yet another useful lesson from that sage of a father of yours.
    Congratulations on your latest novel. It will be quite a while before I get around to reading it, as I have books 2 & 3 to read first, but am glad to know that there is a 4th one to look forward to.
    I’m having a frustrating week, due to engineers rescheduling appointments, etc, to make sure that my first two days of NaNoWriMo are disrupted by noise and chaos. I will stay calm and wear wax earplugs if necessary! It’s par for the course, of course D: Otherwise, I’m in a good mood and feeling exceptionally well, due to having thrown all of my supplements away, apart from my Combination 12 tissue salts! I hope you’re having a good week, and I apologise for not having managed a haiku today but the time-gobbling monsters were out in force!

    • Billybuc at 5:18 pm #

      Sarah, it sounds like you have your hands full. Thanks so much for finding the time to visit. Hang in there; it’s bound to get better. 🙂

  13. phoenix2327 at 5:09 pm #

    I’ve always said you can rush perfection. So I don’t. You’d be surprised how crazy it makes those military types.

    • Billybuc at 5:19 pm #

      LOL….I sense those are true words, Zulma. Thanks for the chuckle. Have a super week abroad.

      • phoenix2327 at 7:02 pm #

        (sigh) Can’t. I meant can’t rush perfection. See. This is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t rush perfection.

      • Billybuc at 10:22 pm #

        LOL, Zulma, I saw what I wanted to see in your comment.

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