The hound started to get restless at about nine o’clock this morning. Thirty-eight and a half kilograms of restlessness does not make for a relaxing lie in, so I am sitting on the banks of the Birrarung writing this post while Harper contemplates the meaning of life after a walk and a swim.
I started this blog to create a record of the twelve months I took off my day job to focus on writing, the sands of which are destined to trickle out in early April. What I have found interesting is that writing about writing has also acted as a mechanism to unravel the knots that sometimes emerge, solidify my practice, and act as a catalyst to resolve some of the frustrations I have encountered along the way.
There was a day last week I was tempted by another shiny idea, to abandon my editing and move on. The internal dialogue went something like this.
“Hey I have an excellent idea for the opening scene of another project I want to do.”
“Yea, but you need to finish this one first.”
“The new one would be loads more fun though.”
“You know they say the best way to avoid becoming an author is to never finish writing a book…”
“But editing is sooo boring and first drafts are such fun.”
“It would be a shame to abandon 65,000 words without finishing the project, how about you try to stick with it a bit longer?”
“The other idea is better.”
“Only if you finish it, rather than quit when the edit gets boring.”
“But I don’t want to lose this amazing idea, I should get started on it.”
“Ok, how about you take a break and write the idea down – one scene only though. Then re-read that blog you wrote about editing and get back to, well, editing.”
So I took my own advice and wrote that scene so I wouldn’t lose the idea, then I re-read my editing hell blog and hey presto! After I cleared the decks and revisited my editing process, it seemed easier. I had cleared away some of the self-imposed confusion and might even have enjoyed some of the edit work of filling in the blank where I had noted write something about x here or re-write this scene. It was a valuable lesson in self strategizing to stick with it.
The draft I am working on now (I would probably call it my third) bares only a shadow of resemblance to the original draft, and I suspect I will still be working on the project when I return to work, but damn, I think I’m going to finish the thing.
What do you do to maintain your discipline to the end?
Main image: Harper in contemplation mode