Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Writing. It Arrives When It Arrives

Hello All-

With all of my recent photographic adventures, I really have not had much time for writing. Apart from a few poems (some I've posted here, some I will post soon), and some occasional PR blurbs for Fort Canoga Press, I have not had the chance to write at length. Some of this has been my schedule, but it also reflects how I tend to work as a writer.

Writing was one of the first things I ever did in my life that I enjoyed, and thought that I was good at. I often say that I fell into photography because I was looking for another way of writing, or communicating. And there's a lot of truth in that. Photography has been, and remains the creative outlet that I can do every day of my life, and feel good about that. Some days are better than others, but it's rarely a struggle to take photos. Writing, however, is much more finicky, and extreme.

I may not write for days, but when a good idea emerges, that becomes the only thing that occupies my mind. And in a short time, I can produce a lot of words. I sometimes get mad at myself for not being able to write as easily as I work with photography. Waiting for inspiration, or finding the time to be inspired can be a struggle. Like any person that dabbles in the arts, we would like to be in control of our muse than we sometimes are. But when the inspiration does arrive, it is akin to finding a thread, and following it down a rabbit hole until the end is found.

A recent example of this is a series of articles I did for a local history museum. Because I wanted to do it, and because I often have the inability to say no, I agreed to write a series of articles on Charlotte history. For this process, I decided to change the way I work, and test my thought process. I did research on all nine of the articles I agreed to write. Notes, information, and passing ideas on what I would say. I then emailed the rough notes to myself, and let the ideas simmer in my head for a week or two.

Some time passed, and I found myself with a day that I was mostly going to spend at home. At 1pm, I decided to work on one of the articles. By 2pm, I had that article done, and decided to work on another. When that article was finished, I knew that I found the momentum I had been looking for. I proceeded to write three more articles that afternoon, went off to photograph two events that evening, and came home to write two more articles after 11pm. The next day, I did a photo shoot in the morning, came home and wrote the remaining two articles. Nine articles, done in 26 hours.

Had I planned to do these pieces this way? No. Did I think that I might work quickly once I was in the right mindset for writing? Yes. There is an advantage sometimes to collecting a series of ideas about something over time, and then sitting down with them all when the time feels right. Will the next project I write arrive to same way? I have no idea. Much like life, you cannot overthink these things. You can only keep thinking, and hopefully be ready when the next good idea arrives.
-Daniel Coston
February 3, 2015

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