Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Outline That!

I need an outline. Went on a road trip the last couple of days and I don't know what it is but there's nothing like a long ride in a car to clear the mind so as to let the big picture come in. We checked into the hotel in Palm Springs and I sat by the pool in 78 degree weather with blue sky, notebook in hand letting the muse take me.

The project can be defined as such: how to organize Mom's genealogy research and compiled materials into an online tree as well as a hard copy narrative. The online tree is up and running but there are lots of documents and photos to be uploaded. Lots to do there. It's the narrative that troubles me.

What might such a narrative look like? Book form of some sort is what is needed, I think. For me the kiss of death will be to tell anyone, Oh yeah, I'm writing a book about my family's history. Sounds like a super gigantic project... and that freaks me out! I need time to grow into this.

I have some objectives for the project down on paper. And a spiral notebook growing by the day with thoughts on form and function. In short, I'm getting a fell for where I'm going. Now I need an outline.

I've had a couple of books published way back in the 1990s so I am not totally clueless about the process. And most important, I'm not kidding myself about the amount of work involved to produce anything that's not going to be trash. The thing I know most is that a writer needs an outline as soon as possible. Now I have one.

You know, it's funny but the creative process takes it's own time coming into form. I've been sitting with this project for quite a while now letting the yeast rise, so to speak. I knew that Mom's work deserved being put in a form so that it could make its way out in the world. And I'd told her that I'd do that... told her that long before I really had a clue about how it might be done. But now for the first time I can see how it might take shape. And that's not saying that the vision won't change, grow, and shift over the life of the project. I know it will.

But today I have my outline. It's simple and clean and touches all the bases. It's a solid thing that can be built on, I hope. Now I'm going to sit with it for a while and let it breath until I can sense that it is ready to move to the next step. Going to print it out. Going to read and reread it a hundred times. Make notes all over it. Cross out a bunch of stuff and write in other stuff. That's the way the beginning of books goes. Wish me luck!!

Photo of the day from Aunt Betty's Archive:

My Mom with her Mom.

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