Dave handed me a book called Show Your Work by Austin Kleon. It’s about sharing your work and creativity. And that made sense since we have a co-authorship. The name Austin Kleon and title of the book rang a bell. After a little pondering I realized Kleon was not new to me. I had also been following him on tumblr.com for quite a while. I suppose great minds to think alike—sometimes, right Dave?
Kleon talks about process and what he says struck a chord with me. As a visual artist, I understand process is very important but the final product is what the world wants to see. As an educator, I know for certain that the process for a student is more important than the product—at least for me, the teacher. The path the student takes to learning means more than just jumping to the right answer.
My writing process began a long time ago when I started putting thoughts and stories on loose leaf and storing those pages in a three ring binder. I have no idea where this binder and the contents are. I hope if anyone finds it they have the decency to never talk about it and to burn it in a raging fire. This three ring binder was born in my creative little hands at the tender and awkward age of twelve. I don’t recall exactly how long I did this for but I do recall that the binder was very full.
During my loose leaf days, I was painfully shy. I barely spoke at school. I carried on like this too-shy-to-talk through my four years in high school. Somewhere along the way the loose leaf evolved into a journal. And somewhere after art school began the beautifully messy sketchbook journals I have now, because after all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Over the past years I have worked through a lot of journals documenting life, poetry, storytelling, and art.
Malcolm Gladwell, a man who is all about process says that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours. I have definitely put in those hours—informally and formally.
When Dave approached me to write with him (I happily did) our work was much more formal (in structure thanks to his knowledge and in time thanks to our collaboration). I went from a lot of informal writing to a formal writing product that could be labeled: script, story, chapter—not just pages in a journal never to be seen.
Over forty years, my raw work has evolved. The evolution has been very slow. Now, according to Mr. Kleon, it’s time to share and speed things up. Collaborate and speed things up! Be accountable and speed things up!! Time to blog. Time to get formal. And I should always, always work but also be brave enough to put it out there.
As a writer, the process to this point, for me, has been a very interesting one. Kleon strongly encourages creative people to find communities and to share. There used to be a huge space between shy me and vocal outspoken me—not so much anymore. Now I share my words and I don’t worry too much. Some people are going to love what I write and some are not and that’s okay. I accept either reaction. It has little do to with me.
Here I am once again posting about writing publicly letting those who love words know that even as primitive as putting pen on loose leaf can be, eventually it can become a script or a novel or a story, if the desire is there.
There is a process for everything. I mean how long would it take if a person walked into the jungle with a machete to come out the other side with a digital device in their hand? Bronze Age to Information Age. Everything has its evolution, its process.
So do I.
Parts originally posted December 9, 2014