Saturday, October 03, 2015

A Horrible, Exhausting Struggle . . . that I Love!

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” ― George Orwell

Writing a book isn't quite that bad or I wouldn't do it. And I make it more of a struggle than it has to be. I stall, him and haw, second guess myself, delude myself into thinking it will be a best-seller, then beat myself up for writing such drivel. Still, I have the affliction for which there is only one cure: writing. I have the bug. The illness. The fever. The plague. I've given up writing more times than I've brushed my teeth and I have good dental hygiene.

I'm at that "horrible, exhausting struggle" stage in the current draft of the book about running. The first draft was more like a fever. What I've got right now is the tail end of a nagging cold with a lingering cough and exhaustion. The worst is behind me, but it's still rough going.

I'm doing what our 4-H adviser used to call, "turning down the screws." It was the detail work we did before taking our animals or exhibits to the state fair. The pieces are in place, the screws are in, and you grit your teeth and tighten. It's tedious, precision work. The book must be in top shape before the next step. So I drag myself to the page and complain a lot, but I do it.

There's a saying in running, "Forward is a pace." That's my pace: forward. And for today, that's enough. I can see the end of this stage of the project. There may be a jagged cliff beyond my line of vision, but I'll deal with that when I get there. In the meantime, I'll tend to my symptoms and continue working on the book.