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September 23, 2018: The Writing Life: When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Write about It

Geoffrey Chaucer wrote:
The lyf so short, the craft so longe to lerne.
Th’ assay so hard, so sharp the conquerynge,
The dredful joye, alwey that slit so yerne;
Al this mene I be love.

His musing attest to just how difficult it is to write, but also how rewarding it can be when, finally, it’s there for others to read. I keep this and also Hunter S. Thompson’s statement in mind when I’m faced with a writerly problem, which is: “when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

I have not written any dispatches with The Writing Life header for some time. This is because I’d written little of worth since last May. And what little I wrote about wasn’t worth writing about. I thought when I stopped that perhaps I would not write anything besides dispatches again. But of course, this is something that I don’t have much say about. Let’s just call my writing life an ingrained habit and leave it at that.

I’m not like some (I used to be) who spend upwards of eight hours a day writing. I wish I was. Life somehow intervened, and so now I spend far less time at this activity. But I long ago cultivated the virtue of consistency, and this has served me in good stead. I usually write an hour a day unless I’m required to tend to something more pressing, like berry picking.

I also learned that I can’t do two things simultaneously; for example, listen to someone talk and music at the same time. Another example, train a horse for a competitive trail ride and finish a book. One or the other project ends up having my undivided attention. This also holds true for writing. I tried, about a month ago, to both work on The Gift of a Good Ride and When you Come to a Fork in the Road, Pick it Up. This went well for about three days. I spent half my writing time working on one project and half my time working on the other. Then, once I got back into working on Forks, the Good Ride book fell by the wayside. Ride was just far enough along that I knew that I’d come back to it when I finished Forks.

I’ve since been working on Forks. It’s coming along quite well. It has continuity, common themes, and strong narratives. I am currently revising the Fair dispatches and the Better Together sections. I am letting my subconscious work on a new introduction and conclusion. These sections have to speak to an audience that extends beyond the local Alaska State Fair readership. I am going to incorporate the material that I originally planned to use in Part II, into these two sections.

And when I’m done, I’ll resume working on the Gift of a Good Ride. I am also going to spend the winter reading as much as I can in the area of movement science. I am hoping that the two areas of study are so similar that I can do both. Hard to say. Hard to say.

Next: 266. 9/24/18: The Writing Life: The Commute

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