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October 10, 2014: The Writing Life: Lessons Learned

And so, here I am, revising dispatches on the subject of moving forward, for a book on the subject of moving forward. Turns out, the dispatches in and of themselves are ahem, lackluster. I hoped not, but I suspected that they might be. But I’ve decided to keep working on this project. This is in keeping with Peter Elbow’s belief that in order to end up with an outside readership for your work, that you must like what you write.

I decided in revising my second dispatch, that is the one about Nancy W.D’s visit, that my main idea is that I’ve been a pushover when it came to working with Raudi. I then, in the same chapter, define the term.

The question that I consider in subsequent work then became, how did I end up bringing about self-change? The answer to this question, which is both self- and audience-directed, is indicated in the titles, which are both audience- and self-directives, hence the use of verbs in the titles, “embrace,” “affirm,” “acknowledge,” and “recognize,” included.

Of course, I didn’t figure out what I now know in a logical fashion. But I am indicating that I did in chapter form, otherwise readers would have to wade through a sea of tangential revelations. So I am now (with the titles in mind) using words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, as triggers. These triggers bear some relation to the chapter titles. In this respect, these are things that I elaborate upon.

This all, of course, begs the question, is what I am now writing then fiction? The answer is no. I am most certainly getting at certain truths here, truths about my relationship with my horse, and truths about self-growth as this relates to my relationship with others. In this respect, this book is going to appeal to those who too are engaged in the difficult task of working with willful horses.

I’m going to include scholarly findings and insights of others. For example, in the chapter entitled “Offer Praise,” I’m going to talk about the importance of positive reinforcement, as used and advocated by my instructor, Beth Theisen. I will acknowledge that I know these things; however, my being in the arena brings them to the forefront of my consciousness.

In writing this, I realize that I have done considerable reconceptualization in the past few days. I am going to keep plugging away at this – working hard but at the same time not setting my sights so high that I end up abandoning this project. A tough call. Ahh, but I am writing about moving forward and now, at the same time, moving forward as a writer. So I am working at my twofold goal, which is to move forward in both my horsey and writing-related endeavors.

I realized early on that I would need to focus near exclusively on my dispatches that centered around Raudi and my arena work. This is why, today, I went back and removed the dispatches that were tangential to this, which are the ones about the horsey activities that took place outside the arena, i.e., trail rides and the like.

Next: 271. 10/11/14: Saving Sophie