These past few months I’ve been toiling away with words.
I have a deadline imposed, not just by the ‘project’ I’m writing for, but also because I’m using my Little Printer to create the thing on which my words will be printed before being rolled up, tied with ribbon and popped inside a balloon.
Yes, I’m talking about the next iteration of One Hundred Balloons, my side project that almost got forgotten (and almost got me into trouble for putting balloons in places they’re not allowed to be).
This time, it’s going to be an art project, not just a side project for me to learn things. There are sponsors and everything.
I have written 194 stories so far, even though I only need a hundred of those. I still haven’t reached the end.
There will actually be 101 stories, but just 100 balloons. It will also be global, whereas last time it was limited to London (if you don’t include the website).
I’m struggling to get the last few stories written, and there’s no guarantee that some of those already within the 79 I’m happy with will live to see the light of day.
Why am I telling you this?
It’s quite unusual for me to have so much time to write, in terms of deadlines. These days, the words needs to come out of head, fully-formed and ready to drop into a website, or a new business proposal, or a report for a client. The concept of revisions has come to mean client feedback and emends thereafter. Everything is a final draft (even though there will inevitably be a file called something along the lines of FINAL_FINAL_FINAL_DONOTDELETE_v12.docx somewhere on a server, which will still be different to that which is published) and yet we live in the most fluid age for the written word.
So, by forcing myself to use a piece of technology that will itself cease to work come the end of this month, I’ve created a deadline to stop myself starting again and again. And while there is a slim chance that Berg will continue to support the Little Printer after March 31st, there are no guarantees. Printing must start soon.
The best thing that this has done is get me writing, and get me back into the art of writing. Not just the craft. I hadn’t really separated the two things before, but I do think there is a difference. One is the idea, the initial putting down of thoughts, half-formed sentences and word play. The other is the crafting of those words, the shifting sands that bring about the final delivered piece, where each word is as necessary as each edit that brought the writer to that point.
And with that, I’m off to write another idea down. To be crafted later, on a train, or in a coffee shop.
Wish me luck. Just don’t interrupt me, I’ve got a deadline looming.