So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years— Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres Trying to learn to use words, and every attempt Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure Because one has only learnt to get the better of words For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate With shabby equipment always deteriorating In the general mess of imprecision of feeling, Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer By strength and submission, has already been discovered Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope To emulate—but there is no competition— There is only the fight to recover what has been lost And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss. For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business. (T.S. Eliot, East Coker, Four Quartets.)
So here I am in the middle way doing some more trying.
A week or so ago I had a pint with local writer Kevin Revolinski who had asked of my writing efforts “are you still at it?” and that he had been thinking that “if I drink more with people who also need to be (writing), that might help.”
It seemed a perfectly plausible notion and so we met up at the Old Fashioned and had some beer. In the time-tested tradition of rash decisions made after several pints I came home having agreed to participate in our own personal NaNoWriMo in which we’d each complete 50,000 words before October 3rd.
It’s an effort for each of us to develop better writing habits and to complete drafts of work that we’ve had “almost done” for longer than we’d like to discuss in public. Kevin is working on another book based on his travels, and I’m going to try to complete the drafts of both Dark Cities, the second book in my near future series, and a business book that I’ve been putting together.
Now, we’re both cheating a bit on this first effort since I have many chapters of both books already done, and some chapters are second and third rewrites. Kevin is also working on expanding material that is already partially done. Nonetheless, we’re each about 50,000 words short of completed drafts, so the goal is to use a bit of peer pressure on each other to force the outcome.
My recent reappearance on Facebook using my writer page is a symptom of this approach. My theory is that writing a short blog entry every day as a warm up will keep me on track for the 1500 words a day that I’m going to have to produce. If you’re going to humiliate yourself you might as well do it in public.
That was a 300+ word warm up. Time to get cracking on the real thing.