Friday, December 16, 2011

Staying on track ...

My daughter and I were talking about "the perfect horse book" in her mind. Not one where an inexperienced rider is the only person who can tame an unbroken bronc, wins the race or show class and ends up marrying the stable boy.

So, what would be the perfect horse story?

She laid out some awesome ideas, including friendship and family relationships surrounding two cousins and their horses. In our story, one of the horses is an old but reliable beginner's horse and the other is a bronc-y (if that's a word) little mare, who, with some more wet saddle blankets, could be a winning barrel racer. We did throw in a couple of cliche's, including a mean girl and an evil ex-boyfriend.

What would it take to get this on paper?

We talked about Christmas break, our upcoming vacation, and writing a thousand words a day. Can we do it?

This reminds me of some of our horse-related talks about riding lessons, practicing for contesting and rail classes and finding time during the school year with everything else going on. "How bad do you want it?" I have often asked.

A lot of our time with the horses is not glamorous. There are stalls to clean and hay to bale. One of the most monotonous tasks ever was shortening her Quarter Horse gelding's mane from about a foot long to about four inches to prepare for the county fair. This took hours because manes should be pulled, not cut. If one of the horses gets sick or lame, sometimes there are shots or medications or soaking hooves or poulticing and wrapping legs. Sometimes there are late nights, walking a sick horse until the vet arrives. Other times we get to see our daughter and her horse in the ribbons at the fair.

So ... how badly do I want this? I have been asking myself this about not only the horse story but other projects as well.

Can we get a thousands words a day written on our horse story? I don't know, but it would be a good goal. What would we have to give up to make time for this? Is there any research involved? If we write it, then there is rewriting, revising, brain-storming, organizing and probably revising some more. Not as messy as a clay poultice for a gimpy horse, but still, some work involved.

How do we stay on track with our writing? Daily or weekly goals? I would enjoy hearing other ideas. I will be back after work!


  1. I tend to schedule it on my calendar so I can get into some kind of routine and also be able to track how much time I am (or am not) spending at my laptop writing...

  2. Only you can answer the question of how badly you want to write this story. Some story ideas that occur to me practically beg me to write them. I love it when that happens, and I do write them. Other times, an idea seems good, but after reflecting on it, I decide that particular idea won't keep me enamored for the full amount of time needed to capture it on paper. Those I let go.

  3. You and your daughter are asking all the right questions. A short-term writing experiment together sounds awesome!