Changing gears

When I made a lot of jewelry in college, I would go on binges. I’d feel really creative and make just one earring of each set. I’d make about twenty different single earrings like this. To slow down long enough to finish out the pair would stop the flow. I’d leave the tray of singles aside until another day, when I wasn’t feeling as creative but I wanted something to do. Then I’d make the other one.

I’m finding it is the same with writing. I’ve reached a slower part. It is now time to condense everything and sift out what needs to go into a book.

There are plenty of contenders for the first book. I feel like I’ve written about three, all at once, over sixteen months. I certainly hadn’t planned on writing this much.

It isn’t all awesome. Some of it is rambling. Some of it is just a warm up for the rest. Some of it is pretty worthwhile. Some of it surprises me. Some of it I don’t remember writing.

The funny part is that with writing and jewelry it is the same. The stuff that I really like, that I poured a lot of work into, is the stuff that gets ignored. My “throwaway” pieces get far more notice and attention. Well, except for the stuff I publicize. When I’ve posted stuff on well-trafficked pages on Facebook, I’ve gotten thousands of hits.

For a while I was writing three posts a day. Sometimes five. For a while I’d wake up with a new idea for something to write every morning. Then I’d get new ideas during the day and I’d jot them down in my notebook. For a while I felt like the ideas were wrestling for my attention, demanding to be written. For a while it was overwhelming.

It has slowed down quite a bit, and I’m glad in a way. I’m a little concerned it means that things are drying up, but I still have my notebooks full of ideas. They are like little seeds. Just water them with a little time and they will grow into full sized posts. They are like zip files – compressed information. The ideas were coming so fast it was almost like I had to take shorthand in order to catch them.

Now is the time of sorting. I’ve sort of pre-sorted all along. I’ve put posts into categories and I’ve tagged them. The only issue is that some posts are in multiple categories and some have multiple tags. While this is fine in a blog, it isn’t fine in a book. Books are very linear. Blogs are very, well, not.

I’m not a big fan of sorting, but it doesn’t do itself. Sometimes I think I’d like to have minions. It would be nice to have an assistant to sort and sift. But then whatever comes out of this is going to have my name on it, so it needs to be all stuff that I not only like but can stand behind.

I’m sorting things roughly now. I’ve created a separate blog just for the religious/spiritual pieces to help me organize. Interestingly, that blog has its own set of followers. I don’t advertise it. But creating it gives me a different way to look at what I’m sorting out. I put the posts in folders on my computer as well. Then I’ll go through and look at them again, closer, and weed out what isn’t quite useful at this time.

It is kind of like making a jigsaw puzzle, except it doesn’t have the ease of visuals. I can’t just look at a post like I can with a puzzle piece and tell that it has a bit of sky in it, so it goes over here. I have to read the posts closely for themes. It takes longer.

Just getting them from one blog to the other (and the folders in between) takes a long time. It was really slow going for a while but I’ve finally learned to open up two browsers. I’m almost embarrassed to admit how I was doing it before. It was quite clunky and I was losing posts. I was also getting confused as to how I was sorting them.

This work is pretty dull in some ways, and interesting in others. I’m coming across some posts that I’ve forgotten. I’m also a bit amazed at how much I’ve written. I have no idea if this will do well as a book either. I may spend a lot of money self publishing it and nothing will happen. Sure, it is already “published” on the web, but there is something about having an actual book that says “real author”. Of course, having it published by a “real” publishing company versus self-publishing says that.

The stigma is going away for self-publishing. People don’t look askance at it. There are plenty of stories of authors these days being turned down by major publishing houses, only to go ahead and publish their work on their own. Then they make a lot of money, and the publishing house begs their forgiveness. Then they show a contract to the author, and the author realizes that she would lose a lot of money to get her book published by them. It is kind of like going freelance versus working for a company. An electrician who works on his own charges a lot less and takes home a lot more than the one who works for a business. Plus, people seem to like the renegade, the rebel, the self-starter. People cheer on the underdog.

I’m reminded that Emily Dickinson’s poems were unknown to anyone other than her in her lifetime, and that Mozart wasn’t acclaimed anywhere near what he is now. I’m also reminded that even Thoreau self published a book.

Do I want fame? Not really. Do I want the ideas that have come to me to change the world? Yes. Do I trust that God’s hand is in all of this? Yes, and no. But this is normal for me. I want to make the frog’s legs grow faster, because the tadpole is too slow. I feel like my “push”, my desire to get things done, is from God. Is it, or is it just me being impatient? A lot of it is trusting the process, and just showing up, right? I think if I pray hard and work hard, then what will happen next is what is meant to happen. I think that if I work to align myself with God, then I’m on the right path no matter what happens. I think that even if I think I’m off the path, it turns out that is part of the path too.

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