The Book That Never Gets Written

As the narrative in our heads keeps changing, I wonder do we accept the change or fight against it.

Man sitting in the dark, writing, for article titled “The Book That Never Gets Written” on The Reflectionist

Photo by Steven Houston on Unsplash


As the narrative in our heads keeps changing, I wonder do we accept the change or fight against it.

Welcome to The Reflectionist, a daily dose of reflection on the nature of the self, personal reality, creativity, life and work, submitted to the public record for posterity. Read personal essays and articles on the psychology of creativity to help you nurture and broaden your creative prowess.

Last night I sat with my daily planner in the armchair that straddles the break in the floor between the front and back rooms of the house.

The armchair hides, in part, the unfinished floor between the two rooms where the dividing wall used to be. I’ve neglected to repair it. It’s like that 12 years or so now.

There I browsed over the chapter outline of my, so-far-off-being-finished-it’s-not-funny, book and some things began to, dare I say it, fall into place.

The book started as one thing, but it now feels impossible to continue writing it as it originally was.

It has decided to change.

It has been doing that for about five years now, changing direction of its own accord.

Rather than me performing the physical act of writing, consciously directing the progress of the material, it feels that I am the one following the direction of something else.

My forebrain wants to reprimand me for not completing this work earlier, and it has done so before.

It says;

If you had just focused in on the work when the original idea came to mind, then the book would have been finished long before now and those people who took up interest would have their book.

Instead, you let them down.

I realise it’s a crazy state of affairs wherein, there I am, sitting at my desk contemplating the eternally unfinished book, arguing with myself.

And although the internal conversation continues, nowadays I have learned to ignore it for the most part.

Killing Ourselves

I can’t bring myself to develop the material for this book for two hours per day, every day of the week. It’s just impossible — I can’t work like that.

I need days of immersion.

I am most productive, most switched on and engaged when I am in solitude for long periods, removed from the risk of interruption, where I can allow the development of the work.

Distractions from members of my family drive me completely nuts.

I become divided, split, diluted, frustrated and irritable. So I’d prefer not to work on the material, not directly anyway.

Or maybe I’m making excuses because in truth I’m afraid to see what I produce. Perhaps this position and insistence is an avoidance tactic.

It seems you see, to write this thing I need to lose myself, my surface level self needs to relent and recede into the background of my mind for long periods, and it doesn’t want that to happen.

It’s a death in some ways.

It seems that to make something exceptional, we’ve got to kill ourselves and allow something else to be born (that’s quite profound isn’t it 🙄), something that has little or no relationship with the life we currently lead.

Family, friends, society, job, and so on, have no bearing on the content of this broader self.

It seems it has its own agenda and it can’t do its work unless I’m out of the way.

So it is patient. It has eternity.

Outline for my book; Purposeful Accident

The Book That Wants To Written

I have self-published a couple of short ebooks on marketing over the years, but they were mostly shit.

Someone somewhere may have received some value from them, but for the most part, they lacked much of what is required for a book, no matter how small, to be good.

So I took them down from Amazon.

Two years ago, I wrote my creative manifesto, and it is that with which I have been grappling.

I wrote it as a short reminder to myself of what I must spend my time doing and why. Since then, I have attempted to develop it into a full-length nonfiction paperback on creativity.

But the jump is too far, and I realise now that I must leave it alone.

However, all is not lost.

In attempting to develop that short 35-page manifesto, I have managed to put together some ideas that may be a fit for another title. The new work feels like it can have a life apart from the manifesto.

And I’m happy about that.

Perpetually In Two Minds

I have found on self-analysis, that I am, and have always been, in two minds.

I can’t escape this phenomenon of personal experience.

And I doubt there is a soul alive, not a single creative mind that does not experience this constant combat of the self inside the dome of their skull.

It is this dichotomous existence of the writer and artist, of the creative, that is the subject matter with which I am constructing this book and last night the outline came together.

I believe that in the successful management of, and going-with-the-flow of this dualistic energy that we each possess, we can be happy, content, prosperous, regardless of conditions.

The book will have two parts; the first dealing with the self, and the second dealing with the work.

You could say it is the commencement of the forming of a theory of creativity that encompasses the ideas of eminent others, coupled with my ideas and thoughts on creativity.

Regardless of the clarity found last night, there is the realisation that the work could change direction again, and it will I’m sure.

So the challenge now is to get the material down while it has momentum.

That’s what I’m working on.

Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. Every morning you’ll find me sharing a new thought on life, art, work, creativity, the self and the nature of reality on The Reflectionist. If you like what I’m creating, join my email list to receive the weekly Sunday Letters

You’ll also find me here

My Site ¦ Twitter ¦ The Larb Podcast