Are you ever called to the Land of Steady? This is the place where you need to just stay and be and try and stay . . . and stay. You’re at your canvas, brush dangling, panic gripping. You’re attempting the Blue Oyster Cult chord on your first guitar, again and once more, and your fingers go numb. You’re in the kitchen, nerves raw for many reasons, and you know you must keep on with the boring, the tedious, because that’s what you committed to.
The Land of Steady: you’re dying to flee because nothing good is happening and nothing might . . . but you’re better off remaining steady than ditching all hope.
You set yourself half a week to plot out Chapter 6. It’s too much. You collected too much information; nonetheless, you reckon you’re a dab hand at synthesis, so it should be easy, right? Well, after a day and a half, all you have to show is some ideas over a fraction of Chapter 6’s timespan.
This is where you’ve learnt to do one thing: stay. Never walk out. Stay. The plot will come. Stay.
Steven Pressfield is brash and wise, a combination that invites attack. This post yesterday, on why he bins “clueless asks,” namely requests for help out of the blue, elicited mostly favorable comments but also some vitriol. My arduous, typical experience with marketing my writing matches Pressfield’s advice: do your best to get noticed but for heaven’s sake, inform yourself and don’t expect busy people to help out of the blue. (The image is from Pressfield’s post and comes from the movie Clueless.)
If I could work harder, I would, but I can’t, so I’ve taken another look at the shape of 2017. The essence of the Big Year – rising early and working uninterrupted for the morning – is faring well, though it’s exhausting, but the year’s goal morphs and morphs and morphs . . .
The morale-boosting aspect of my recent distraction back into catch-up-and-clean-up-and-be-done-with-it research is that I can at last see the entirety of the book – the research and the writing – as achievable. At last.
Anyway, I hereby nominate the 2017 Writing Big Year goal as having a publication-ready version of Volume I done and dusted. (Actually self-publishing will take a bit more elapsed time.) I’m in the process of installing a week-by-week plan but in essence I’ll need to finish first drafts by the end of October.
. . . that’s the go, isn’t it? A week of hiding to write something worthwhile. Plenty of self exhortation going on.
This tale is a the bulging hold of a supertanker: it holds too much. I try to talk myself into brash, cartoonish plotting.
In this New Yorker review, Anthony Lane nails my discomfort with a film (Alien: Covenant) that ticked boxes for me but left me puzzlingly disenchanted. In a nutshell, Ridley Scott, master in so many ways, has lost the plot with the Alien saga. The plot is naff. When I grow up, I aspire to write reviews as good as this one! (Image from the New Yorker)
Check out this Strava post by Martin Yelling. Such a resonant perspective. For many of us, 5:02 isn’t the soft option, it’s hell. I only ever ran two half marathons, both at around 2:20, and they damaged my body. If I had ever undertaken the full Monty, 5:02 would have been a miracle. Martin, thanks for speaking for the genetically slow and clumsy. (Image from the Strava post)
Too many obsessions that can be converted into the big year notion of daily focus . . . fortunately, some possibilities are off limits.