Visualizing the Long Project

©John Hendrix, used by permission of the artist

Thank you to Caroline Starr Rose for letting me know about this marvelous graphic depiction of a process with which I am all too familliar, having been in “this writing business. Pencils and whatnot” for about thirty years now. Being the slow, plodding writer I am, stubbornly Poohish, I know all about the arc of the long project and have occasionally surprised myself retracing my own footsteps in search of Woozles, or could they be Grandfathers?

Artist John Hendrix (author-illustrator of John Brown: His Fight for Freedom) has captured it all in visual form with the brilliance and succinctness that induces instant illustrator-envy in wordsmiths.

Process, however, is process, and I find myself nostalgically retracing this very route in thinking about the road I’ve taken with a few novels, several picture books, and one 6-year nonfiction odyssey. Big takeaways:

  • Be open to the spark. Indulge in chasing the perfect butterfly.
  • Expect to fall, sooner or later, into the pit of despair
  • Be aware that you don’t always control the time axis, which is sometimes short and taut, sometimes unpredictably elastic
  • Final = different, not better
  • Trust the process
  • It will soon be lunch-time (wait that’s Pooh, not artists)

Prints (color version with a little additional enhancement) available here.

3 thoughts on “Visualizing the Long Project

  1. Thank you for this, Uma. Been wallowing in that Pit of Despair off and on for quite some time. But–spring time, vaccines happen, and lunch is coming. I must be on the upswing (again).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s