Saturday, April 05, 2014

Ending Phase One

“Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials.” —Paul Rudnick
One of the first goals I set for myself back when I went into semi-retirement was to get eight years of notes for a book out of the Moleskines and onto the computer. I started that while we were in Alabama in February and was surprised by some of the other thoughts and notes I discovered. I did not get sidetracked (much) and kept at it when I returned to winter in Minnesota last month. Even returning to full-time work didn't slow things down much at all.

Thursday evening, sitting at Caribou Coffee I finished the transcribing and reflections. At this point I have a little over 20,000 words of the memoir/book that I have been percolating for these past eight years. THAT surprised me. I hadn't realized how much I had already written and where some of it went.

But in good writing style, this first draft is everything Anne Lamott called it. It is a crappy, chaotic first draft. As first drafts often are. After all it was written in bits and pieces in journals with no rhyme or reason, just what happened to arrive in my consciousness at that point. Sure, it started with planning and doing my 60 miles for 60 years bike ride in 2008, but it went a number of other places in no particular order.

Now comes the next phase, figuring out what it all means and where it's going. I am aware of many inconsistencies, repetitions, and just plain awful writing. I have to get it in some kind of order, find the holes and work on discovering the threads that will tie it together and give it a direction.

Sounds like fun for the next months.

If only I can stay away from the other distractions I found that Paul Rudnick didn't mention.

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