Whenever we try out something we never did before, we learn a few things.
Yesterday (as the time of writing) is when I finished the last edit in the final “The Way of the Warrior” article, just two days before my deadline to publish it. Since even before finishing it, I’ve wanted to write an extra piece on the matter. Nothing about the topic itself, but more about the process of researching, writing and editing. I might make this a tradition for whenever I finish a big series, or I might not. Only time will tell.
I’m still fairly new to writing. Even though I’ve been doing it for most of my life since I was about seven, I still don’t think my writing is quite as good as I want it to be. It doesn’t reach my own standards for quality.
I often think back to Ira Glass talking about creating1 and how he says that people who are new to the craft need to go through a huge volume of work before we get to where we wanna be. That’s why I put myself on a deadline of publishing one post on Ask Vinni a month and one essay/writing piece a week. I felt it was a good compromise; as a student and part-time worker (and I’m almost tempted to say full-time volunteer) I only have so much time on my hands to dedicate to the website. While I could probably get twice as much content up, it wouldn’t be the type of practice I need it to be. The volume of work would be bigger, but I wouldn’t be spending enough time in each post to learn too much.
I’ve gone back and read through all of the posts in the series. There are things I wrote that I don’t completely agree with anymore, there are parts of the older posts that I wish I could erase completely because the writing quality was so bad it makes me more than a little ashamed.
But I won’t be erasing any of that. I might edit one or two sentences to make for a better flow, but I like the idea of having my work be public in the way it is. To see my progression with each passing week and month.
And speaking of progression and not having my work be up to snuff, I found that there’s a middle ground between “this is too shallow and not worth a thing” and “this is gonna take me at least two months to research and I don’t have that time.” Time and time again while writing I had my mind drift into a tangent, which I had to erase when going over the work after my writing session, knowing it would take too much time to properly explore it the way I wanted to. I had to stick to the subject matter in a way I never had before.
Most of all I learned that going with my gut is often a good call. Several people complimented the series, saying they had never seen or thought about warriors in that sense; that wars were only for killing, that death was negative and we shouldn’t think about it, that vikings only knew how to kill and didn’t feel any love.
I remember thinking a few months ago that I would naturally drift to topics I needed to explore the most. What would help me at any point in time, and I believe the warriors helped me more than I even expected them to. As I said in the conclusion, it feels like I could connect to their energy and culture, and in some ways and found myself living a lot more intensely over the last few months. I’ll keep working to make sure that remains the case and this intensity not only doesn’t stop, but also increases. It was interesting to dedicate the whole first third of my year to a single topic that’s as noble as that and I’ll surely be doing the same thing again in a few months.