Budding Writer, 1979: A good time for groundwork

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About this series: I revisited my journals from my first year as a freelance writer and found they told a story of their own. In this series I get the rare opportunity to give myself, and other writers, career advice with nearly 50 years of hindsight. Enjoy!

In typical fashion I spent Sunday of the long Memorial Day weekend of 1979 procrastinating.

I continued my “Inventory” work and went through all my high school and college papers and previous creative writing drafts:

… I spent the … rest of the day examining and organizing myself as a writer, I reviewed most of my old high school and college papers, set my manuscripts and revisions in order, and began sorting through my backlogged clippings files that support my writing and weltenshaung. There’s much more organization to do before I start in seriously writing and revising, however — which may be just as well, for although the spirit is getting quite fired up, the inspiration is lacking. So this is a good time for groundwork.

Journal, Volume II
27 May 1979

Howard, take it from me: A certain amount of organization is good. However, this borders on busy work. At the time, you did have visions of collecting some of your school essays into books about how not to write papers. Come to think of it, that’s not unlike what I’m doing with this series. Hmm.

And what of all that creative writing you were going to do? Well, there’s always tomorrow. It’s a Monday holiday, isn’t it?

And now a word from your self-editor: check your dictionary, Howard. You didn’t have a spell-checker on the cartridge pen. The correct spelling of the word is Weltanschauung. It’s German, which explains the capitalization, and it means “worldview.” You may have meant Weltschmerz, or world-weariness. That was a literary term you had picked up, but today we might call it sadness and apathy. It’s not clear from the context of this entry exactly which one you meant.

Roses adorn the gardens of a riverside restaurant in New Hope, Pennsylvania, May 27, 2023. By Howard Fielding. Offered under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

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