For me, there’s a beautiful alchemical process that takes place at a certain point during the creation of a book. It happens someplace after the first draft and before the final edit. It’s a moment that’s awe inspiring, hugely engrossing–and a grand cosmic mystery besides.
Not that writing the book itself isn’t a total hoot. It is. Inspiration flows, incredibly deep wisdom that may or may not have anything to do with me pours out—and I crack myself up in the process. (Hopefully other people too.)
When I write a book, it pours out in dozens of individual essays. I never have a clue how each essay might relate to any of the others, or the order in which they should all fit together in the finished book.
Each essay is like an irregular bit of mosaic glass. Jewel-like, each one twinkles and gleams in its own specific way. None of the pieces seem to resemble any of the others. I polish an individual piece until it sparkles, then I think to myself, damn that’s pretty good. And then I move on to the next irregularly shaped piece.
I used to worry and wonder how all these random pieces could possibly come together into any kind of flow that makes sense. I can never imagine how all these disparate twinkly bits will transform into a coherent book. And yet they do. Every time.
I take no credit for that; it just happens. Something beyond my own consciousness is in charge of that process. Four books in, I’ve finally learned to just relax and let it happen.
So here I am, back in that old familiar place of not knowing. Dozens of individual printouts lay scattered around me, color-coded paper clips adorning various sections. Who can say how any of it will fit together? I just know it will, in ways that are bound to astound and amaze me. And I wouldn’t miss that process of discovery for anything.
It’s just always a little tricky figuring out where to start.
~ Carrie Triffet is the author and twinkly-bit-polisher of 3.5 books. That last .5 of a book is THE FRICKEN MAP IS UPSIDE DOWN (A Handbook of Spiritual Freedom). Look for it later this year.