Sometimes writing is peaceful and flows. Sometimes it takes work, toil, and struggle.

April 24, 2021 by Joshua
in Art, Creativity, Habits

Before I had an outline and composition that worked for this book, I wrote a lot, but kept having to restart. I was spinning my wheels.

Fountain Pen

Then I started working with a coach. She didn’t know anything about sustainability or stewardship, but she knew about writing. I could separate my two broad challenges—structure and content. By structure I mean the craft of writing, which included composition, time writing, focusing on the reader. I’m not e. e. cummings. I’m not trying to change the form of books. Shakespeare’s sonnets were no less creative for sticking to the sonnet form. She knows writing and enabled me to separate out the craft so I didn’t have to worry about it.

Once I had an outline I liked, I wrote the first draft of nearly 50,000 words in a month. I can’t say the words flew from my fingertips. In fact, at one point I stumbled on a concept I hadn’t noticed but thought would require redoing the outline. I stepped back and worked that idea into the outline and found in the end I didn’t have to change as much as I expected. Other ideas came and some I had to take out, but I enjoyed writing.

Other times writing takes work. I might spend weeks coming at a concept from different angles. Starting and restarting from scratch. Having to talk to people about it even when I can’t explain it. Writing too many words, too few, too wrong.

Unexpectedly and in ways I couldn’t imagine, all that work leads to the diamond appearing from the dirt. It seems like toil wouldn’t produce clean, flowing lines, but it does. Only my coach has read the full manuscript so far and she’s predisposed to like it since who knows how much I followed her style, so maybe my words won’t appeal to anyone else, but I feel confident they will.

Finishing the manuscript’s first draft means starting editing, which never ends. It also means incorporating ideas I didn’t think to include before. I have plenty since writing about sustainability leadership means writing about my life. Some are subtle and take toil.

Plus I’m writing the book proposal, which is an independent document for a different audience.

Somehow the most important tactic seems to be to write. Keep writing. I’ve found in creativity that quantity is the route to quality. I believe people who consider themselves artists will understand the value of my daily burpees to my writing. Without my sidchas, I’d have no discipline. They develop it, enabling me to apply it elsewhere in life. We’ll see how the book comes out.

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