Writing Creative Non-Fiction = Insanity

So you probably read this post about how I’m writing more creative non-fiction than poetry now. I’m finding that working with a CNF manuscript is like – well shoot it’s 8 PM and I can’t think of a metaphor. Anyway, it’s harder and more confusing than I expected.  I have this amalgam of essays that are somehow related to my topic (it’s a spiritual memoir), but as a whole it’s quite disjointed.

Problem 1: Organization

I am seeing that the way I was going to organize things is just not going to work. In Scrivener, right now I have it separated into two sections, “Nazarene” and “Orthodox.” I thought I could write it chronologically. However, writing it that way 1) is kinda boring to read, and 2) is problematic because I have recurring themes in both sections. My new goal is to look for common threads in both sections so that the chapters can be more thematic than chronological.

My plan for how to do this is to print out the entire manuscript, lay it all out on the floor, and match up sections that seem to go together. A literal cut and paste. So now, on top of 2,589 Legos, 13 Barbies, a handful of fruit snack wrappers, and four baskets of clean-but-still-not-folded-and-put-away laundry, my living room floor will be littered with pages from my manuscript.

Problem 2: Getting All My Source Material Together

I primarily have 4 sources for my manuscript:

a) My blog – this is the easiest source to get information from – just copy and paste!

b) My journals – I have between 20-30 journals dating back to 1987. Some of these have some good stuff that I can use toward my manuscript. My current plan for how to get that stuff is to sit at my desk, read through journal after journal, cry a little, then stack up the journals on top of the desk. Yeah. Great plan.

c) My brain – Yes, I am actually writing some of this as new material. Some days this part goes okay. Many days, this part looks like me sitting in front of a blank screen for 60 minutes, then eating a bowl of cereal and going to bed.

d) Other sources – I have a variety of other books I am pulling quotes from. (So technically, I do have more than 4 sources.) This seems like it would be the hardest part to organize, but most of these quotes are already in my journals anyway. See b).

Problem 3: Too Many Distractions

It’s 7:00 PM and I’m “working on” my manuscript.

“Mommy! Can I have dessert?”

Oh, I need to check and see if  _________ responded to my Facebook message.

“Mommy! Ephraim hit me!”

I forgot to “Like” that status by my friend _________ on Facebook.

“Mommy! It’s MY turn to go first!”

I should probably update my Facebook status to say that I’m writing.

“Mommy! HELP ME!”

Okay. So only two distractions. My kids and Facebook.

Anyway, as you can see, trying to complete a CNF manuscript is enough to drive this girl insane. But aren’t all the best artists a little insane?

One comment

  1. Karla says:

    Only the good ones! 🙂 and why haven’t you written me back on Facebook…..haha just kidding. I can’t wait to read your book!

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