I spent most of this morning going through and re-inventorying my essay themes. I’ve now identified six primary themes:
- connection through making (to people, to “the moment”, to the Divine)
- doing things for the experience vs. doing them for end product (process vs. product)
- thoughts on original vs. duplicating/strongly derivative work
- how to learn faster and with less stress
- more productive ways to think about your work and yourself-as-an-artist
- how to tackle ambitious projects/achieve beyond what you think are your limitations
I’m still mulling things over, but I think I’ve got enough to start.
Now, of course, I’m suffering from all the usual insecurities that writers get, the main one being “Who do you think you are, writing this? What makes you think anyone is going to want to read what you write?” This is particularly ironic since the main point of the book is how to get past all this as a creative artist! But I am doing my best to follow my own advice: focus on enjoying the journey, not the end product, and deliberately avoid categorizing yourself as someone who can or can’t do something – just do it!
Pursuing to this advice, my plan for the next round is to sit down and do some writing, rather than overthinking it. I could slice and dice organization indefinitely, but until the book tells me what it wants to be, it’s just pushing cards around. So I’m going to pick a theme, and write a chapter based on that theme. It will undoubtedly be re-re-revised as the book evolves – in fact, there’s a good likelihood it will be thrown away altogether. But I figure it’s like making a muslin – you have to sketch out and trial ideas before you can get to the final product. And since I’m on muslin #9 for Autumn Splendor, well, let’s just say I’m familiar with, and comfortable with, that way of working.
Off to write! It will be interesting to see what the first draft looks like.