Finis

Every thing hath ende.
~ Geoffrey Chaucer

I’m a fair-weather runner. I buy new running shoes in the spring, and I bookmark my summer with 5K races – the South Bend Sunburst in June, and the Plymouth Blueberry Stomp on Labor Day.

But I don’t really enjoy running, and by mid-summer (like now), I’m whining around the house every time I’m heading out the door for a jog. “Then why do it?” my kids ask reasonably enough. “It’s like what they say about writing,” I tell them, paraphrasing Dorothy Parker (or somebody): “I hate running; I love having run.”

The writing root of that thought is definitely true for me, which is why I launched this little experiment six years ago. That’s when I enlisted Lisa, my friend and occasional editor, to hold me accountable for 1,000 words a week, thus creating an artificial regular deadline. To give it some teeth, I sent her a check for a hundred bucks, and I asked her to spend $10 out of that stake every time I failed in my writing mission. Over the six years since, I think she has managed one or two decent lunches out of the deal, but otherwise I’ve been keeping up pretty well.

Along the way, I’ve written much and learned some things about the craft. I’d like to think I’ve gotten better at it as a result. If I haven’t, that’s still OK, because the purpose of the experiment wasn’t quality so much as quantity. And, let’s see: 1000+ words a week, times 52 weeks, times six years = 312,000 words at a minimum. That’s some decent quantity, I’d say, and it’s not a bad pool of effort in which to tease out some quality here and there.

Perhaps. You’d have to be the judge of that. I’m way too self-conscious and self-critical to fairly gauge the worth of anything I’ve done here.

Anyway, I’ve decided to draw the experiment to a close. Once it got rolling, I had the idea of maintaining it for a solid ten years, but only because ten is a nice round number. At this point, circumstances have led me to conclude that a six-year streak (give or take) is more than adequate.

For one thing, I’m six years older and tired. Trying to write well does take some energy, but my main gig, teaching nursing, can be exhausting. Moreover, I have a family and family responsibilities, so when I get to the weekend and still haven’t written anything, it’s increasingly challenging to come up with 1,000 coherent words before midnight Sunday.

Quantity over quality, yes, but there has to be some semblance of intelligibility.

Plus, there’s what we can call the P.T. Barnum factor: “Always leave them wanting more.” I have no illusions that the “them” in this case is particularly concerned about the windup of this blog. Nonetheless, I’ve been grateful to have readers visit this site from time to time, and a handful of folks even signed up for notifications of new posts. Many thanks to those of you who’ve attended to what I’ve been trying to do here, especially if you’ve written comments of support and encouragement. I intend to keep writing, but it’s time to try new things – maybe new websites or blogs or venues, maybe new approaches or themes.

I hope you stay tuned. Check back for updates. Thanks for reading.

Oh, and please come cheer me on at the Blueberry Stomp in September. I’ll be running the 5K, but hating it, and I’ll appreciate the reminder that it’ll be worth it in the end.
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