Ex Nihilo, Introduction

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Out of the unformed ether of the mind erupt peoples, nations, entire worlds of every kind. By unleashing the raw power of creation, we storytellers breath form and life into entire universes ex nihilo. It’s an extraordinary power, but like most practitioners of magic, we prefer to work in seclusion. We barricade ourselves in our ivory towers, huddled over parchments and keyboards in the dark, not because we’re arrogant or because, like magicians, we believe in closely guarded secrets.

Rather, we hide the details of our work because we’re scared.

We’re scared that if we let you in, you’ll discover the awful truth, that the handful of gems we’ve managed to produce after weeks or months or years is invariably preceded by decomposing mountains of dross, the inarticulate by-products of a creative process that reveals our numerous inadequacies in all their shameful glory.

We jealously guard these imperfect scraps and never allow them to see the light of day. We believe only in presenting our most polished work; we’re certain that to do otherwise would be intellectual suicide.

But today, I want to throw the doors open. You’ll notice I’ve already done a little of this in my Friday Freewrite series. I’ve come to realize that perfection is a foolhardy illusion, that if only I swallow my pride and allow others to encounter my flawed and imprecise methods, I can share a much more authentic, much more human story.

To that end, I’ve decided to post my next blog not in its complete and perfected form, but as a weekly four-part series of intermediate steps.

Below are links to each installment in the series:

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12 thoughts on “Ex Nihilo, Introduction”

  1. Pingback: Why Is Imagination So Important? | Jeff Coleman Writes

  2. Pingback: Ex Nihilo, Part 3: The Rough Draft | Jeff Coleman Writes

  3. Pingback: Ex Nihilo, Part 2: Organization | Jeff Coleman Writes

  4. Pingback: Ex Nihilo, Part I: Conceptualization | Jeff Coleman Writes

  5. The process is where the mystery emerges. And as Camus wrote: But perhaps the great work of art has less importance in itself than in the ordeal it demands of a man and the opportunity it provides him of overcoming his phantoms and approaching a little closer to his naked reality.

    1. I like that, and I tend to agree. Art is, first and foremost, an intense struggle to shed one’s skin and to come in contact with one’s soul, however fleeting and imperfect the experience may be.

      I also think that a significant measure of art’s value lies in what the viewer gets out of the experience. I believe art is a transformative experience for both parties.

  6. Sounds great, Jeff! Looking forward to seeing an authentic writing journey and completely agree with you that we should all try to be a little less precious about the process. I will try and take a leaf out of your book! Look forward to reading your next post.

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