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March 22, 2014: The Writing Life: Get ‘er Done, Dammit

Since Sunday, I’ve been feeling like I don’t have any energy to spare. All I want to do is crawl under the porch and call it good. Getting even the simplest of things done is taking a super human effort on my part.

But things gotta get done. The dogs, goats, chickens, and remaining horses need to be tended to, no matter how I feel. The horses do seem to be mystified by the fact that now only three of their kind are ensconced on our property. Hrimmi, who was never fully weaned, misses Signy the most. I wish that I could alleviate her confusion, but alas, I don’t speak horse.

I also have to finish my University of Alaska Press proposal. This is because I now have more at stake career wise than I have ever had before. If this proposal doesn’t go through, I am going to have to close up shop and find a job that pays. Most recently we had two dog surgery bills. And we just got Signy’s veterinary bill. Be forewarned, if you can avoid it, do not, I repeat, do not call upon a veterinarian for service late at night. That is unless you are independently wealthy.

So I am forcing myself to work, and work in a sustained fashion. (Coincidently, my new working title is Sustainable Writing: Unearthing the Creative Process.) I’ve been trying hard to again reconceptualize what this book is about, using Editor James Engelhard’s ideas as a framework. This is difficult because (even a few days later) I believe that the proposal reads well as is.

I’ve been looking for holes, places in which I might expand upon given ideas. There’s a part of me that initially felt like I was going through the motions of doing this, which is expanding upon and deleting ideas just for the sake of expanding upon and deleting ideas – hoop jumping if you will. This way, it would appear to James that I’d made substantive changes when in reality all I did was make insubstantial changes.

This is the viewpoint of a writer who, when she gets feedback from editors, works hard to incorporate their comments into the mix. Yep, I tend to see others’ point of view, when their ideas seem to be shifting around like tectonic plates.

In this case (and in spite of having an admittedly sour attitude), something amazing happened. Let me digress for a second. I have always contended that the ability to problem solve is central to the production of good writing. And problem solving (in this particular instance), is reconceptualization. If said writer does enough problem solving, they’ll in time up the ante, since they then will then have the ability to tackle more complex problems.

It wasn’t pointed out as such, but the last draft of this proposal, that is the one that I submitted to James, had an unresolved problem. This was that I could not determine how I might write about my sustainable writing-related discoveries. (These occurred here, in the past ten years, as we were homesteading.) However, last night I determined that I could, in my introduction, say that I figured out how to write sustainably, then in the chapters that followed, I explain the steps involved in figuring this out. In this way, I might then answer the question, how is it that I figured out how to go about sustaining myself as a writer/homesteader?

This necessitated my going back and first rewriting my chapter summations and then rewriting my introduction. I think I did solve my writing-related problem, but I am not sure. I won’t know for a few days, which will be after I reread the proposal anew.

As I am now thinking, it’s far better to do this in proposal rather than in book form. It does not seem like it now, but this could end up saving me considerable time later on.

Next: 82. 3/23/14: Search and Rescue – the Real Deal