We refer to arts such as dance, music, and theater as performance arts, but writing, painting, musical composition, and other art forms are also performance arts even though not performed directly in front of an audience. The solitary performance of the writer begins with the concept and ends with publication of the novel, short story, or article. Like other arts, once the author finishes the opus, it completes the exhibition. The result may exist in material form, just as a dance performance may be on videotape, but the performance is over.
I liked what I heard the famous ballet dancer, Svetlana Zakharova say, that the best performances are during preparation, back in the studio where the dancer feels freer to make bold moves without fear of an occasional stumble. How many times in writing have I written something much more lyrical or expressive than what I include in the novel because it doesn’t fit the finished work. The rare times when one can capture those passages in a way that fits the overall composition is when one feels a sense of accomplishment.
Even if our first novel, or second, or third…or sixth novel is not what we wish it might have been, we must continue to the next performance. This time, we may not stumble or muff that high note.