Personal Musings

Writing vs Written

A river of material flows through us. When we share our works and our ideas, they are replenished. If we block the flow by holding them all inside, the river cannot run and new ideas are slow to appear.

Rick Rubin, The Creative Act: A Way of Being


“I’m writing a book” and “I’ve written a book” are two very different things. I’ve written a book. I’ve written a few. Where I’ve always struggled is organizing the manuscript into a coherent structure from beginning to end. My brain sees structure and says, “Where’s the battering ram? The baseball bat? The crowbar?”

But there is structure to be found in chaos. Nature, true nature, is chaotic. There is a framework in the chaos of the forest floor. There are ferns and wildflowers and dirt and worms and insects. There is structure in tree branches and limbs crisscrossing up, up into the sky.


I’ve taken the step to structure the chaos. It’s fun in the way running trails in the woods is enjoyable to me. I give credit to my wife who, a few weeks ago, stopped at my desk while I was writing and said, “You’ve written a book. Now let other people read it. People want something they can hold in their hands.”

That’s what I’ve been doing with my time lately: organizing the chaos, but not making it too orderly. My brain doesn’t work like that and going with the grain will never work in my life. I must go against the grain.


The book I have written and the book I hope you will soon read is not a put together puzzle in the box. It’s pieces of a puzzle scattered about you’ll have to put together yourself. Who’d want to buy a puzzle already put together anyway?

I’m always writing. I’ll always be writing. But I have also written. There’s a difference.