Recording The Creative Progress

A conversation with Kieron Circuit @callow_explorer on keeping records of our work in progress has prompted me to think of its benefits.

I am the first to admit that I cringe when I read through my first drafts. Personally, writing them is equally the most unenjoyable part of the entire writing process. In my head, I can perfectly picture the scene and feel the energy and emotion driving the characters (I call this Skull Cinema). Yet putting this scene into words that convey the same energy and emotion is difficult to nail down in the first attempt, and it frustrates me.

However, with my art, I know the first layer of paint going on the canvas will be nothing like the image in my head of what I aim to finish with. I will add more layers and edit parts totally because I fluffed up the perspective.

So why do I find it more difficult to accept a first written draft will be poor?

Keeping visual records

When I paint, I like to take photos to track my progress. Here are a couple of shots I took from my Castlemilk Morrit Ram painting. You can visually see the detail going in from what started as some simple blocks of colour. As I take photos with my smartphone, I see them often when I idly scroll through my photo app. It becomes a great visual reminder of how that early draft looked before I finished it.

I keep records of my original written drafts, but they’re squirrelled away on my hard drive or in various backups. It’s rare for me to dig them out and read them, and really I should do.

It is too easy to compare ourselves to others. It is much healthier to compare ourselves to how we are now to how we were yesterday, a month ago, a year ago.

I encourage you (and I encourage myself) to find an old first draft and read it. There will be the good parts that you kept and worked on. There will also be the awful parts, but you learnt from them. Read it and take pride in how your writing has improved since then.

How do you track your creative process? How has it improved?

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