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Creative (Almost) Every Day: Completion Is Too Tidy

I am printing out my edited chapters and adding them to a three-ring binder, which is always something of a surreal experience.

What you can’t see in a nice neat stack of three-hole punch paper is the effort and experience that went into completing the project.

You can’t see the piles of papers, some organized and filed, some stacked and spilling over.

You can’t see the ten years of teaching experience that created the observations I drew on.

You can’t see the hundreds of exhilerating successes that I’ve heard since I started teaching.

You can’t hear all the frustrations and groans I’ve listened to, sometimes patiently, sometimes less patiently.

You can’t see the stacks of student work I’ve reviewed. The millions of questions I’ve answered. The requests for emergency attention.

You can’t see how many hours I invested in the original outline, the book proposal, the drafts, and all the scraps I threw away.

All you can see is this tidy stack of three-hole punched paper, neatly piling up in a three-ring binder.

And it’s weird, I tell you.

So much goes into creating a book.

Books can change people’s lives. Empower them. Inspire them. Give them a reason to live or help them live better.

I would love to see the people who create books become more valued in our society, instead of less valued.

I would like to see every single person write a useful book.

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  • Caringlessons April 6, 2011, 8:10 pm

    My experience exactly! A friend sent me your link and I’m happy to commiserate with you and rejoice that my book is finished.

  • Lela April 7, 2011, 1:09 pm

    Maybe both would happen if more authors were more honest about the process. The vast opinion out there is still that the book just sort of “happens” for “lucky” people who have “talent.”

  • Cindy Herman April 8, 2011, 2:40 pm

    True, true, true. For short articles, too. Once it’s printed, in newspaper or magazine, it looks like it might have taken an hour, tops, to put together. Ha, ha, ha! How laughable!