The Complete Angler
Thank you for taking the time to look at my web site. Below you'll see that I've created four entry points into this textual labyrinth. Each entry point reflects one of my interests. If you'd like to read more about one of these subjects, just click on the corresponding image below. I also write a blog called Rough Drafts which you are welcome to read and comment on.
About Donavan: Donavan Hall is writer, soccer coach, physicist, and craftbrewer who lives on Long Island. He was the author of the Long Island Beer Guide before starting a small commercial craft brewery with his friends Mike and Yuri in the summer of 2012 called Rocky Point Artisan Brewers. You can read about Donavan's adventures on his blog, Rough Drafts. If you like what you read here, a few of Donavan's books are available in the store for you to order.
Wednesday, 29 October 2014. The writing life. With November approaching, I’m thinking about starting a new novel.
As much fun as it is starting a new novel, I have so many unfinished projects, and that weighs on my mind. Finishing projects has been my main focus for the last four years. Finishing a book doesn't lead to an immediate sense of elation. Rereading the book and making the corrections is laborious, tedious. And all the time that I spend revising and reshaping and rewriting allows the doubts to creep in. Is this book worth all this effort? Nobody’s ever going to read this book anyway. Who cares if there are typos and logical gaps or inconsistencies? Wouldn't you rather be writing a new book?
The psychological aspects of writing are just as important as the physical ones. Handwriting or typing each day is the physical part. Managing your life so that you have the "free time" to be able to sit at the writing desk is part of the physical regimen. Getting enough sleep, exercise, diet. All essential aspects of the writing life. Psychological self-discipline is what keeps the body and the mind on course.
I was talking with Alice at breakfast earlier in the week about the books that I’ve finished and the ones that are just about there. She said, They don’t have to be perfect do they? Isn’t that what a publisher is supposed to do? Aren’t they supposed to edit the work? Don't they help with catching the problems?
That would be nice. Wouldn’t it? To have some editor at a publishing house combing through my text and telling me that this or that needed fixing or rewriting? I fear that I’d find it tedious.
Over the weekend, I was making corrections to one of my “beer adventures.” Back when I thought I would make my mark as a beer writer, I was banging out light, fluffy books which I called “beer adventures.” Craft beer-themed fiction. I published one of these beer adventures and wrote three more. The best, I think, is Wasted. That one is about my trip with Peter to the Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley.
What sort of writer am I? I feel guilty about writing four “beer adventures.” Yes, the intention was to create light entertainment, but is it worth my time? Yesterday, I read a little of Ian Marchant’s The Longest Crawl. That's a decent “beer adventure.” Whenever I read about blokes shambling the backroads of England drinking in old pubs, I get jealous. I'm a romantic drinker.
Since writing those first four “beer adventures” I’ve read W.G. Sebald’s books. Sebald’s writing represents something to aim for. What I mean is that instead of light entertainment, shouldn't these books that I write be worth reading? And not just as something amusing. Sebald is worth reading. His subject is big. My "beer adventures" don't have the sort of scope or weight of Sebald’s books.
Rasan recommended that I read Rebecca Solnit’s books. So I read A Field Guide to Getting Lost. I wrote about that in my book, Rough Drafts, which I’ve been correcting. I've started reading The Faraway Nearby. The reason I mention her books is that they also seem to represent a way to approach a subject. Not just writing about craft beer, but life in general. Why should I narrow my scope to “beer adventures” when there's a whole world out there to be observed?