After being locked in a small room with a big editing project these past months, finally, I’m heading into the wilds again. House Rock Wildlife Area is my destination. The assignment, which I have chosen to accept: Write about watching the area’s wildlife, including (if I’m lucky) its herd of bison.
No pressure, but I have until June 20 to produce about 1,700 words for the September–October issue of Arizona Wildlife Views magazine.
In an earlier post called “Trust the Process,” I talked about the stage fright I sometimes feel when I start researching a project. It’s the real deal; butterflies in the stomach, along with a conviction that this time, it won’t work. I’ll pick up a pen, set it on a blank page, and … nothing.
The funny thing is, this has never, ever happened to me. I love to write. I can’t think straight without a pen in my hand. I write every day, for work or in the journal I’ve been keeping ever since fourth grade. Blank paper does not scare me. Words don’t fail me.
And yet, I have this fear. I think it has to do with you, reader. I think you scare me. I want to capture and hold your interest. My purpose in writing is to show you what I see, so you will feel what I feel.
If I’m writing about watching wildlife, I want you to feel that reading my story is almost as good as being there. Better yet, I want you to be so moved by my words that you go outside yourself, binoculars in hand.
It’s a lot to ask, of me and of you. So, don’t take this personally, dear reader, but when I get in the car today for the long drive to House Rock, I’m going to forget about you. It’s only for a little while, I promise. I’m going to pretend I’m on vacation, heading up to northern Arizona to watch wildlife, just as any normal person would. I’m going to have myself a good time. And then, when I’m nice and relaxed, when I’ve had a few good experiences and I’m bursting to write about them, we’ll see what happens.