As sometimes happens, I’m not in a particularly productive mood today. This probably has more to do with my friend’s party last night than anything else, but it’s Sunday, so I think I’m entitled :). This post was going to be entitled ‘How much is too much?’ but then I realised that that’s not the point. Or rather, not the helpful point.
These thoughts were engendered by finding out that two horses died during the Grand National steeplechase last week and another at the Scottish Grand National just yesterday. I should point out here and now that no comments regarding horseracing as related to these tragedies will be approved on this blog. There are other more appropriate forums for that debate.
Anyone with a dream puts huge amounts of effort into achieving it. We devote vast chunks of time to working towards it, often going without food, sleep or human interaction for as long as it takes to achieve our dearest desires. To offer a fairly wishy washy example, here I am, hungover on a Sunday writing a blog post when I would much rather be continuing my scientific education at the hands of Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything – I love this book). Why? No one is paying me to do it. Insofar as I have a plan for my blog, I do not intend to ever get paid for it.
So why am I bothering? It was only ever intended to be a platform for showcasing my writing to the world (based on the fairly arrogant premise that if only people could read it they would fall in love). It seems to have become a personal crusade where I have committed to no one but myself to post every day (I think I’ve missed three, maybe four, days in just over two months). At what point should we relax and stop pushing ourselves? At what point is what we have already done, enough?
The answer is, of course, never. It is possible, albeit unlikely, that the entire universe is maliciously inclined to thwart you at every opportunity. However, barring this unfortunate possibility, if you have not yet achieved your dream, then you have probably not yet done enough. Since I am conscious and my brain is functioning at a sufficiently high level to produce this post, I will probably turn over to Love of Gods next to see what I can do with it. I’m still working on the opening chapters, but having rewritten the beginning, I since realised that I can ditch all of it except for the last three lines or so. Which I haven’t actually written yet.
It’s like finding what looks like a good route on a map and then realising that another route is rather more direct. And then another is more direct again. Believe it or not, this happened to me several times while trying to work out the fastest way from north-east Kent to Worthing on the south coast of England on my motorbike. Forced by lack of a full licence to keep off the motorways, I discovered a few possible routes. My time went from just under five hours to just under three and a half.
And isn’t that what we’re after? To improve ourselves? Athletes constantly strive to improve on their previous efforts – show me a writer who doesn’t aim to do the same.