I put in a respectable amount of time on the book yesterday – six solid hours. About three hours of actual writing time, and three hours doing prep work for the next two chapters. I finished one chapter, wrote half of another chapter, and started arranging ideas and quotes for the final two chapters. Those are the chapters on growing as a designer and selling your work, which are more challenging for me since I have no personal experience with selling my work. Still, I’ve solicited advice on the topic from over 20 top artisans, and much of it is consistent, so I do have plenty to write about.
In fact, the problem actually isn’t not having enough to say. The problem is that I have too much to say – over 100 quotes from my interviews on the topics of selling your work and growing as a designer. I need to organize them somehow. Up until now, I’ve been just glancing back and forth between the collection of quotations and my chapter, taking the quotes that seem to fit. But because these topics are less familiar, I want to get a better sense for what I’m working with. So I have used my foam board to organize the ideas. A Post-It summarizes the idea (with lettering I can read from five feet away), and the associated quotes are printed and taped to the Post-It. The end result looks like this. (Click on the photo if you want to see a bigger version.)
I’m only about halfway through – it will likely take another two hours to finish cutting, pasting, and organizing all the ideas and quotations. And then I will need to arrange the ideas into logical groupings. But after that, writing the actual chapters should be a snap.
And the prep work isn’t a bad thing. I’ve found that I can only focus on writing new material for a few hours a day – it’s intense mental work, so after a few hours I find myself staring at the screen instead of typing. But writing and rearranging Post-Its is much easier on the brain, so I’m working on it whenever I need a break from writing. This allows me to work for hours with only short breaks.
One thing I’ve discovered about the writing process is that I make much more progress (and feel more productive) when I commit to spending a certain amount of time writing, rather than focusing on word count, as many writers do. That’s partly because word count is elusive (sometimes I hit problematic points that need “composting” time before I can proceed further), but also partly because writing is only about half the work. I will probably spend as much time prepping my next two chapters as I will writing them. So focusing on time rather than word count leads to less frustration over “wasted” time prepping for writing – or rather, it recognizes the value of prep time.
Speaking of prep time, I spent about two hours winding a card weaving warp yesterday. I learned the continuous warp method of warping, and wound a 40 card warp. I’m going to be weaving this motif from Gudrun Polak’s pattern library:
It is, perhaps, a bit complex for a beginning card weaver, but I think I can figure it out. And then hopefully I can learn how to design my own patterns from there!
Meanwhile, what of the cats? Well, they’re nowhere in sight. But sometimes you see a cat, and sometimes you just know where a cat’s been:
The culprit? Almost certainly Tigress, as she looooooooves shredding paper towels. We had had the paper towels wedged on the counter in a place where she couldn’t easily claw them to shreds, but she has now discovered that if she knocks the paper towel holder onto the floor…fun ensues. Oy vey!
(At least she hasn’t yet discovered where we’ve hidden the toilet paper…)