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November 2, 2014: The Writing Life: A Moment of Indecision

Last night I finished the second draft of Lessons Twice Learned: The Recollections of a Returning Rider. In my head, the entire work now has a clearly defined beginning, middle, and end. In my head, I’ve filled in all the blanks. In my head, there are illustrations, photos, and sidebars. In my head, this book has done well in terms of sales. That is, in my head. However, I know that there is a great deal here that is relevant to my topic and needs further explanation. There is also a considerable amount that is still babble and needs to cut out.

I have just printed up the third draft and will momentarily begin going through it and attempting to determine what I’ll need to do in terms of subsequent revisions. There’s a part of me that (right now) wants to chuck this entire project and begin a new project, one on a topic unrelated to horses and riding. I guess I will need to do this soon, otherwise, I’ll just waste more time working on this supposedly worthless project. Then there’s the part of me (right now) that wants to keep working on this because I sense that there is something of worth here. I’m leaning towards making the latter decision because I know that I’m my own worst critic.

This work, in its original form, was at first a series of handwritten journal writes, then a series of dispatches. I thought that I’d be able to take the dispatches put them in order, and revise them minimally. This was because back then, Lessons Twice Learned was in my head. I soon realized that in order for this to be a book, I’d need to do further work. I kept going – actually, what kept me going was the composition related dictate “like what you write!”

I am now wondering if I’m finger twiddling, and thus wasting valuable time and energy. Perhaps I should now be working on other projects such as a book length work that has a larger audience. Another potential drawback is that there is now a decidedly fictive element to my story. Details have been lacking, details have been forgotten, details have been created – all in order to get at certain truths. Just wish that I’d taken better notes when I was at Beth’s place this past summer. For this reason, I’m not at all sure how this work is going to be received by those who I am writing about.

There is one saving grace at this point in time and this is that I do have a specific audience in mind. This is returning riders, or those who again take up horseback riding at a later age. I’m a returning rider, although my writerly perspective is that of an individual who has been at it for ten years.

The moment of indecision is here – one in which I must decide whether or not to stay on the boat or to abandon ship. I have created a work space that’s quiet and in which I seldom have any interruptions. So, unless something major happens, such as an earthquake, I am duty bound to finish Lessons Twice Learned.

I must give what I have written and revised thus far a complete read. My resuming work on this could be like baling ocean water out of boat with a leaky bucket. Yep, this is a very apt analogy. Can the leaks be patched, and is this worth it? This is what I need to consider. Or should I just toss the bucket overboard and look for new one? Dunno. And dunno is the operative word of the day.

Postscript. I seldom have postscripts at the end of my dispatches. But this merits one. I did reread Lessons Twice Learned. And I was so right – there are many, many holes in it. In fact, it is so riddled with them that I am going to rewrite the entire document; this as opposed to revising it. However, as I was reading what I’d written, ideas were coming at me so fast that I could not get them all down. For instance, I must, in doing a revision of the introduction, keep in mind to say that a characteristic of a returning rider is that she/he is not a blank slate. Rather, such individuals bring many years of experience to the forefront of their lessons. This then, will be a justification for what I’m going to do, which is to include sidebars in which I provide readers with information as this relates to what I am bringing to lessons.

I wonder if Wilbur and Orville, in looking at their first plane, doubted that they’d be able to get off the ground. Wrong Brothers, first birds to walk. I’m with you, brothers.

November 3, 2014: Three Dogs Speak