I’m just a little over halfway through the second part of the first draft of my book Chasing Creativity. About a hundred pages down, sixty to go. It’ll be much longer once I finish expanding. It’s almost 62,000 words right now, and there’s more expanding to do. And then I’m sure much of it will be changed, altered, deleted, etc.
Writing a book works differently than photography and visual creation. Bringing a book together, in many ways is easier, more freeform, yet somehow oddly much more structured.
It doesn’t require dragging props and wardrobes out into the forest, or to a park, or the water, an abandoned building, or an empty field by a graveyard or in a different state.
It doesn’t require modeling, or working with others. It doesn’t require the perfect weather, or location, or wearing particular clothing.
Writing is rest.
And I’ve so needed rest.
This is the fourth book I’ve completed to first draft stage. Yet it’s the first nonfiction.
The process is very different for fiction novels or short stories and creative writing than it is for this type of nonfiction.
In some ways this is easier, because I can use my own experience and many conversations with others to draw on. It’s in some ways easier to outline, because there’s a clear and direct path through without needing to think of characterization or how the characters get to where they do. There isn’t the dialogue and emotional component that exists in fictional or fantasy worlds.
And yet, it’s also more challenging.
It’s meant to help others; it isn’t just writing for me. Without a clear narrative or story arc, it’s more difficult to piece the chapters together.
How do I know when I’ve fit all the necessary information in? When am I over-explaining? Where are my blind spots, and what’s been inadequately transferred from my mind and my experience to the page?
There are sections that need to be reworked and rearranged. Even a few duplicate chapters with different takes that need to somehow be shifted and combined.
That said, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this project. There are more chapters I’ll need to add that I somehow missed on the first time through and in my outlining.
This work is more behind-the-scenes, and there’s less to show for it right now. I’m not used to that. I typically have a backlog of images just waiting to be shown. (And I still do to some degree, yet I haven’t created a composite/conceptual piece since the end of March. And those I have planned are in such a drastically different style I’m not sure if this is the right place to share them when they’re finished.)
I’m comfortable with it personally, but externally, I’m feeling a bit insecure. Will there even be anyone there to read what I’m writing, or to see the new work I’m producing if I step away for too long? Does stepping back from social media make me irrelevant?
These questions haunt me, but they also exhaust me. In our overextended, worn-out world, we need to intentionally carve out time for rest. I'll do my work behind the scenes. And if anyone’s still there, I guess those are the ones who needed to see it.
Social media has our brains running a thousand miles an hour. And yet, this leads to burnout, stale creativity, and everyone merging and blending so much that everything looks the same.
So I tune out. I enter my own little bubble, crawl into the cocoon. And who’s to say what I’ll be when I emerge.