My Wiccan clan held its annual Bardic Circle last night, as it does every Imbloc. For those unfamiliar with the custom, in a Bardic Circle everyone is asked to offer some aspect of performance or creativity, in this case as an offering to Brigid in her aspect as Goddess of the Arts.
My offering was to read a description of the eclipse ritual at the Stonehenge replica in February 1979.
Putting together that description taught me a few things about how well my existing research tools work together, how good my notes were, and how tedious some tasks are. To give you an idea: I wrote about 1500 words… with 29 footnotes.
Here’s the most important reason why I did it: I know I have at least another two years of research ahead of me, probably more. In pursuing interviews and reading books and locating sources, it’s possible to lose site of the goal. By taking one tiny step within that final task, I help keep my sights on the outcome.
I know what I presented at the Bardic Circle is not final. I still have more people to interview about what happened at the eclipse ritual. The prose has my usual verbosity and stilted tone, and could use improvement.
Even so, I can now say this: The first words of the biography have been written.
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This is good. It is a good practice to start writing short segments now, and keep, them double and triple backed up, so that when you are actually ready to begin creating chapter drafts you already have plenty of material from which to work.
It’s also important to realize that you won’t use everything you write in the final manuscript. Some things won’t fit, but you never know which bits those will be until you get there.
It’s important to start flexing the writing muscle as soon as you can, just as you’ve already done, because it is through the process of writing that you will come to understand what you actually think, what you really want to say, and what is actually important for this book.