The Joy of Tackling a Big Project

Building materials and half completed buildingMy current Big Writing Project (BWP) is the finishing up of my commentaries on Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana for publication. I’ve been using the writing software Scrivener, as everybody who’s anybody says it’s magnificent. Well, I’d been finding it magnificently hard to use, to be honest. The final step in my project was the addition of images, and Scrivener just wasn’t cooperating. Until, suddenly, it was. I’m not sure what I did, but I think I had somehow created a table where I didn’t want one, and Scrivener was stubbornly following the

column margins. Once I deleted that extraneous formatting, everything worked fine. Now I’m totally enjoying the image-finding part. Wikimedia is extremely helpful with their common-use license info, so I’m plowing ahead. I told Jim yesterday that I was having so much fun it didn’t seem as if I were really working.

There’s still a ton of work to be done after I get the actual manuscript finished. If I don’t figure out a way to market the material, I might just as well put it in a drawer somewhere for all the attention it will get. My goal is to sell the material to choral groups who are performing Carmina so that they’re not just mouthing Latin and Medieval German syllables. It’s so much easier to sing expressively when you know the meaning of the words! But nobody knows me, so I have to get the word out. There are several avenues I can pursue: a choral website that allows classified ads (but I’ve never been able to get that feature to work), Google searches on upcoming Carmina performances (and then going to the relevant websites to get contact info on the conductors), perhaps marketing it through the paid services that sell downloads of single parts for major works, and, as always, simply putting the e-book up for sale on Amazon and on my “Behind the Music” website. A lot of technical, not-very-fun stuff. Getting the actual material finished, though, will be a huge boost. Jim will take care of compiling the e-book itself. (We’ll see how easy this really is in Scrivener; its “compile” feature is supposed to be one of its biggest selling points.)

It’s amazing, though, how much more of a positive attitude I have now that one small glitch has been fixed. I’ve gone from being totally frustrated with Scrivener to being in somewhat of a modified rapture over it. Which is good, because I have a ton of material and time invested in this software, with another project for a book that I painstakingly transferred over from a different writing program. At one point during the whole “why won’t my picture work” stage I was seriously considering the transfer to yet another writing program, but now I’m going to stick with what I have. Sometimes this endless search for the right tool is just a way to procrastinate.

In case you think that the point of this post is to pat myself on the back for my persistence, I will say that this project has lain fallow for months at a time. There’s no reason why I didn’t have these commentaries published and out there at least a year ago. It just seemed like so much work. (Not surprisingly, since it was.) When I’d come back to the manuscript after a break I’d have to re-learn how Scrivener works. I’d get bored. Minutes seemed to crawl. And then, when I’d finally get going, it would be time to fix dinner. I’d lose my momentum all over again. But now that I’ve gotten a real taste of success I’m loaded for bear.

(BTW, the illustration, from the wonderful free image website Pixabay.com, has some relevance to what else has been going on project-wise with me, the finishing-up of the lower-level renovations. Our job was just a little smaller in scope than the one pictured, although there were days when it didn’t seem that way. We’re almost there! Watch for upcoming posts on various aspects of that project.)

Do you have a big, daunting task that you keep putting off? How can you get yourself going on it?

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