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January 6, 2015: The Writing Life: Loose Ends

Loose Ends – an apt title for a dispatch although in this case it’s not all that fitting. I know what I have to do and I’m now doing it. Right now I’m working on revising my If Wishes were Horses proposal. So far, so good. I feel like this version is far more solid than the last version. Something that I’ve recently figured out about memoir writing is that subject being written about needs to have a clearly defined identity, that is one that people can identify with either because they are also of that ilk or because they know someone of that ilk. Furthermore, they hope in reading about such an individual to gain additional insight into their, or another’s character. (Did I just write that? It’s brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I am going to put it in my proposal overview).

My New Zealand book – I was a bicycle tourist who embarked on a literal and figurative journey. The same is true of Headwinds, which I hope this year to revise and publish. I’m now a returning rider – in If Wishes, enduring hardship in hope of someday acquiring the horse of my dreams. I am of course motivated by obsession.

Today I’ll work on the proposal promotion section. I am going to say that I’m going to use social media to promote If Wishes were Horses by using social media. I will write that I will let people know that they can order signed copies through Fireside Books, a local independently owned bookstore. I’ll add that in this particular instance my model is writer Jon Katz. I have watched closely as he on both Facebook and his blog has let his readers know that his books are available at Battenkill Books. This has worked for him in that he’s sold over 1,000 copies of his last two books, the first being The Second Chance Dog: A Love Story (Random House) and the second being Saving Simon: How a Rescue Donkey Taught me Compassion. (Random House). This should enable me to better cover my bases in terms of being in Alaska and therefore unable to do lengthy tours in the Lower 48.

I will also somehow mention that Raudi, the central equine character is also a known entity. For example she’s made a name for herself in the international agility competition circuit, as is evidenced by the fact that she now has over 70 views on two You tube videos. In addition, she has her own Facebook page.

Nancy WD-40 is doing the illustrations, and in fact is now nearly done, having come up with 28 pencil drawings. I’ll ask Pete – perhaps we can use one of her illustrations in the proposal itself.

I sent an online copy of If Wishes to my friend Pam Nolfe a few days ago and last night she sent me a detailed list of typos. At the same time, she also sent me snippets of her own story – this was inbetween the lists. I don’t know how I will do it yet – but somehow, I will draw upon the stories of other returning riders. It may end up being a book of its own, or perhaps (yes) become an online chat group. Maybe writer/returning riders who have stories can work together on this project, with me being the editor.

As I write this, our good friend Bill Schmidtkunz is fitting drawers that he built into our under the stairs ara. Pete is soon going to begin working on getting book ready for publication. So, I guess I’m going to have to get in line if I want literary assistance.

I get really antsy when I’m working on proposals. In a way, working on them is a form of moving backwards since they’re a summation of what the project is about. And in a way, they’re a form of moving forwards since they’re an indication of what the proposal will be about. I would, right now, just as soon be working on Twice Lessons Learned. Of course, I’m also going to need to be working on a proposal for this.

Pete (my self-designated assignments editor) has suggested that I reconceptualize Writing Sustainably and instead call it Blogging Sustainably. I’ve since given this matter some thought – It’s a good idea because this would give the book a better writing-based focus. And so, rather than write about my many diverse writing projects, I can instead write about how blogging shaped my thoughts about sustainability, and vice-versa.

All the above are good ideas. I’m now double dipping in that I am going to take some of the ideas that I’ve just generated, and insert them into my proposal. The light is returning, so I’ve resumed writing in the mornings. I’m also writing some in the evenings. As the days get longer, I’ll spend increasing more morning time writing.

The most important thing of all is that I do as I’m doing now – that is sit in my chair and pretend that I have a Velcro butt. And so, when I get up, there will be an awful ripping sound, one that will remind me that I need to focus on the task at hand. If I don’t do, this, I’ll really have to deal with supposed writing-based loose ends.

Next: 7 1/7/5: Big Heart

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