Done, Done, and I’m On to the Next One (having nothing to do with Foo Fighters)

“The mission is to complete the project so you can move on to the next. That next one is a stepping-stone to the following work.”

Rick Rubin
The Creative Act: A Way of Being

Tomorrow morning I will submit the latest New Bayou Book, due out in April, for copy editing. And while there’s still plenty of work to do, the creative writing part of the job is done. Over the better part of last year, I managed to work through the process of first imagining characters and then bringing them to life through a narrative that’s set, once again, in my hometown of Eunice, Louisiana. 

Ideas come easy. Even sketching out the basics of a story isn’t all that hard. But it takes work, a long-ass sequence of days that turn into months, sitting quietly at the computer, speaking the story as you type, over and over, to end up with a narrative that’s coherent and tight. Something you can be proud of. 

Honestly, it feels like something of a minor miracle, but one thing I’ve learned is to trust the process. Write the story once, all the way through. And then toss that aside, start with a blank page, and write it again. By the time I’m at the end of the second draft, I seem to know the characters, and their story is pretty well determined too. But not totally. I need a third draft for that, and maybe a fourth or fifth pass. This is the process, I’ve learned. It would be hyperbolic to call it building a mountain one layer at the time, but the analogy is not that far off. 

In April, I’m going to release Suicide Squeeze, the Colton Lacombe story. It’s a story about  an LSU-E baseball player with a troubled past. I’m excited for you to hear and/or read it (stay tuned to New Bayou Books for free, bootleg audio versions). 

But what I’m really excited about now is starting the next project. And in part, it’s that excitement to get cranking on the next thing that assures me I’m ready to let this last one go. It’s time to give Colton Lacombe to my fantastic editor, Marie J. Coreil, and get to know Horace Granger, my newest protagonist. I wonder what kind of shit he’ll stir up?

I can tell you that an eagerness to start the next project is a sure sign it’s time to bring the current project to completion because I can feel that it’s true. But also, because Rick Rubin told me so. In case you missed it, the veteran music producer and modern day guru released an amazing book on creativity a couple weeks ago, and he’s been making the podcast rounds to talk about it (Rogan, Tim Ferris, Modern Wisdom with Chris Williamson, Rich Roll). 

The book is called The Creative Act: A Way of Being, and really, it’s a work of art. Get the hardcover version. It’s an object you’ll want around the house. Trust me. 

Until next time . . .

Published by New Bayou Books

Jason P. Reed started New Bayou Books to spark a revolution in South Louisiana literature. The goal of the company is two fold: to discover great new writers from Acadiana while building a global community of readers and listeners. Join us! Sign the enlistment form.

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