While I’m in the throes of doing laundry so I can be up in five hours with all the other chickens and get to the airport (and consent to another pat down because the X-ray machine says I have metal under my arm), E. B. White provides today’s post.
Mr. White responds to the ASPCA, which has accused him of “harboring” an unlicensed dog.
Thanks to Letters of Note for sending Mr. White’s missive into my e-mail in-box this morning. And thanks to the ASPCA for accusing Mr. White and thus eliciting this lovely piece of American literature.
If Mr. White’s letter pleases, proceed to Mark Twain’s letters to the Hartford Gas Company. One of the letters is quite brief and appears in an editor’s note just below Mr. Twain’s signature (S. L. Clemens).
Another round of ROW80 begins today, and I’ve signed on. I would like to say I’m doing it because I was so successful the first time, but that would be overstatement bordering on a lie. In fact, it would be a lie. I became so tired of reporting that I couldn’t even remember my goals that I stopped reporting and just wrote whatever came to mind.
(Oh, joy. The Internet is down again and I must reboot the router. It’s okay. I get a lot of exercise walking across the room and toggling a little switch.)
Back to ROW80.
One of my CPs came across the following post on the blog Letters of Note. It’s a copy of a letter in which Pixar animator Austin Madison tells aspiring artists how to handle times of “creative drought.”
“In a word,” he writes, “PERSIST.”
So I dive into ROW80 once more because I’m persisting.
And because I want to. I discovered some interesting/entertaining/informative blogs during the first round, and I hope to discover more.
It’s also good to write in the company of others. Not to be accountable to them, but to share their energy. We’re all working toward the same thing.
Part of the ROW80 contract is a statement of goals. I’ll keep it simple.
During the next 80 days, I will spend a portion of every day WRITING. Not answering e-mails, not composing blog posts, not commenting on blogs. Not playing Bejeweled (I’m getting pretty good at it). I will WRITE (which includes revising, editing, organizing) something intended for submission, and not for self-publication. Five hundred words a day is a nice round number, and something to shoot for.
During the next 80 days, I will submit chapters to my critique groups. The other members haven’t threatened to kick me out if I don’t get back to writing, but they are beginning to look at me with a different expression. Sort of like the Aggies look at Reveille. As if they’re going to start giving me little head pats and perhaps a dog biscuit if sit quietly while they’re discussing their manuscripts.
My third goal is to eschew perfectionism, but I’ve been eschewing so competently that I don’t need to put it in writing.
I hope everyone reading this post will click over to Austin Madison’s letter. His ideas aren’t new, but they’re often forgotten. Sometimes we need to read them in new words, from new people, and we need to read them again and again.
Image of Reveille by Patrick Boyd (cropped from ) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons