“All experience is an arch where through gleams that untravelled world whose margin fades forever and forever as I move.”  Tennyson, from Ulysses

I’m sitting at the desk in my fully customized mudroom, reflecting on the nature of the Elusive Writing Goal.  This mysterious creature, the EWG, flits across every town in every country across the face of the planet.  It is a chameleon creature, ever shifting, ever changing, and has beckoned many a weary writer onward to an untimely death.  Some have ignored its enticements completely, enduring the consequences of  a bleak and unsatisfying life.  Others have quested to the ends of reality and beyond, losing themselves and their sanity in a never ending pursuit of perfection.

A problem, then, for the conscious writer.  What is the safest way to deal with the EWG?

Ha! Safe? If you consider yourself to be a writer, abandon the concept of safety at once.  Myth, my friends, pure myth.  We are risk takers, venturing off of the established paths.  We delve into the nature of human emotions, one of the most dangerous pursuits known to man.  We spin our minds and souls into words and send them into the public domain where anybody might read them. 

All in pursuit of the mysterious EWG.

What does your EWG look like?  Can you even answer that question?   When you think you have captured it at last, it morphs between your very fingers and slips away, hovering in the distance, daring you to catch it one more time.  

At the moment, mine has alighted on my shoulder and is singing promises in my ear.  Almost, it says to me, almost.  A little more polish on this manuscript, just a little more, and then you can send it out to agents.  

Even under the enchantment of the EWG I recognize the hidden dangers in this casual statement.  Agents.  A promise of rejection; a hope of validation.  And always, unspoken between the EWG and me, the hope of a published novel just out of sight around a corner in time.

I know that the instant I believe this MS is done, the sweet little EWG will grow claws and scales and become a dangerous beast.  Foreknowledge is not much protection, however, and so I linger in this phase of the almost done.  I am cherishing a sense of completion before the novel is complete, because when it is I will believe that it is not.

And still, even knowing, I will pursue the EWG into the weekend.  We will polish Filling in the Blanks, one word at a time.  And when this month is done, we will query.  That’s what it says to me now, and I am compliant, complicit, to follow the margin that fades “forever and forever as I move.”

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