It’s been over another year of writing and it’s time for a project update. The books are still far from done but they are growing, it never stopped moving. I feel constantly challenged between the people who voice their need for this book, the quest to work at a high quality standard and the reality that this is a side project and not a full time job.
I finished a prototype of week 1 at the very beginning of 2018. It’s not visually polished on purpose, the goal was to put all the elements together to clarify the vision. Do just enough to understand what the book is about, to define the style of the content, layout ideas. This really helped shape how the book is structured and leave space for future contributors. Then the prototype of week 2 came shortly afterward.
From there I was able to do a more global pass on the rest of Spring, every sections had some meat in it, until I started shuffling chapters again yesterday. But the structure is still there, they all have an intro, a “Practice time” section, additional advice sections and most have reference pictures or tutorials. It’s pretty close to being something you can read from start to finish.
The chapters about soft skills and concepts are harder to put together, anatomy, body mechanic and body handling, tension, partnership, intimacy. I’m reaching out to a lot of friends to get their input on these topics hoping to get this further.
The three other books have received way less attention, but still continue to evolve. As I continue the research, attend classes, read groups, I have been adding resources links and tweaking the chapter lists so things will go faster when I tackle the next seasons.
Summer 2017 has been a difficult period. As victims empowered themselves and started speaking out, a lot of well known rope artists were disclosed as having poor judgement, disrespectful behaviors and sometimes as being abusers, predators and rapists. Then some people started using the victim’s story to drive other agendas which created a lot of chaos in the community. This was a huge shock to me as many were people I respected, sometimes friends, often people I would have trusted and recommended and it was suddenly very difficult to know who to trust.
Many were people I was hoping would become collaborators on the book project. I entered a place of reconsidering everything. How would I see my own book should I learn after the fact that a contributor is a terrible human? Considering I had checked reference for some of these people, knew some closely, and still had no idea, how can I make sure I associate myself with only people of high ethic standard? How can I drive something that aims to be community based when there is so much politics. All these doubts stalled me for a few months, my faith in the community was challenged.
My progress also took a hit because this storm affected my involvement in NARIX and NDC. Combine that with an increase of responsibilities at my day job. Everything was suddenly more challenging and time consuming. The time I had to shoot and write was more limited than ever.
I need to remember who I write this book for. I feel I’m getting a clearer vision of what I should do from here thanks to the many people who listened to my struggles and gave me advice. I can increase the amount of verification I do about potential collaborators, make sure they have high standards in ethic and from there accept that we are humans. I do the best I can with the knowledge I have and it has to be enough.
Since then the dust has settled, I took a break from teaching and organizing and I’m coming back to it with a different perspective. My work took me on a ridiculous amount of traveling, pressure, expectations and learning. I’m coming back with more peace about my own mistakes and more distance about the ones of others.
I have been receiving so many messages of people who want to read the book and telling them it’s going to take over another year breaks my heart! There are lots of concepts in the book that doesn’t seem to be documented elsewhere. When someone ask a question on fetlife about some of those, I wish I could give them something. The reality is that it takes me a long time to write, and going into print is going to take even more time.
But what if I could bring the core of the content – Exercise lists and tutorials – and make them available on the web site early? It’s more important to me to get the knowledge to a maximum of people than it is to sell books. Plus putting some content for free might also be the best of publicity and then everybody wins.
I should be ready to post the content during the focus test, this would align with the crowdfunding plans. I’m going to aim January 2019, maybe the start of another 365 challenge?
The journey is not over, every class, every event brings a new reflection that I have to include in the book. Every times the change makes the book so much better, but every times it means a lot of work. It’s going to be difficult to ever call this project finished.
I took a few classes at Beachbind that got me tips to improve some of the exercises. After MissDoctor’s class about nerves, I went on a writing spree for the anatomy chapter (while hanging in a hammock on the beach, with The Silence shooting with Clover next to me).
I keep seeing cool stuff coming from the Self Tie Tuesday challenge group. Often their challenge are similar to the ones I already wrote for the book, but seeing what people come up with help me expand some chapters.
The fact that our craft is still in a phase where knowledge, techniques and styles are expanding at a rapid pace makes it very difficult for the completionist in me. I’m always catching up, and it feels never ending, but always evolving toward something more awesome.
But I need to do more, I need to reach out to more expert, have more people look at my draft, and this is so hard and humbling at the same time.
The plan for what comes next is pretty clear
- Get targeted feedback on the weakest sections of Spring by key experts
- Get Spring ready for contributors (1st pass on everything, structured correctly in google doc
- Complete the waiver/legal aspect and verify it with the lawyer
- Make a list of all the text and image contribution I would need
- Get the layout of spring for the focus test including all remaining tutorials
- Post content on the internet to get more feedback and increase visibility
- Get Summer, Fall, Winter at a state where the chapters will not change anymore (ah!)
Current page count
- Spring: 227
- Summer: 78
- Fall: 42
- Winter: 29
Next: I’m going to post the list of chapters for Spring at the end of week, hoping to get some feedback on it.