I'm entitled to a work break, right? Of course I am! And I can take it here as well as on Facebook.
(Which, alas, is the genius of FB: it reaches more people than 99.9% of blogs can hope for. And the interface is brutally simple, more so than the one whose infrastructure supports what you're reading/seeing.)
(Ah! But the tradeoff! This format -- what you're reading --- is mine and mine alone. I can fill the screen with random photos instead of ads.)
The beer project. Fascinates daily. Never had so much intellectual fun.
I've started writing the essay. That's a switch. Research used to require so much time --- labor --- that the real writing only began after maybe a year or two. But now the research is so . . . easy? compressed? efficient? that . . . well, I've started writing.
And so to the point of this jaunt into my [virtual] living room. (1)
My excursion into self-publishing has now yielded sufficient data (cough) that I can attest and assert:
Being 100% in charge of "content creation" and design/publishing decisions is extraordinarily liberating. To the point of exhilaration. Some days I'm a tad giddy. (Don't say it. . . . don't say it.)
I spend most of my time focused on research/writing, but my brain constantly ponders basic structure issues --- index? subdivisions? table of contents? preface? introduction? --- including the crucial task of documentation (aka footnotes, endnotes, notes), as well as how to link that documentation (notes) to the essay and vice versa.
Mostly those are design/technical issues that I hope (okay, I'm praying; have built an altar and the whole nine yards) that whatever software I use to publish (at the moment I'm leaning toward Vellum) will include sophisticated tools for note management. As in easy. Like a car. I don't wanna build the car. I just wanna drive it to the store.
These days, that's not asking too much. Until the past year, I didn't bother trying to read scholarly nonfiction with Kindle; publishers' note/text interface was too primitive. Now? I'm reading such a beast on my Kindle right now. When I want to read a note, I just click that little number and, helloooo, baby!, there the note text, right in front of me. Click. It goes away. Deee-lightful. (2)
Anyway: Now those notes are up to me and me alone. No editor, no agent. No contract. Zero of the obligations and conventions to which those three are yoked. (3)
Expectations? Mine, and mine only.
Title? MINE! First time, people, first. time. ever. I'm 100% in charge of titling my work. (4)
A long-winded (per usual) way of saying: I can do whatever I want with this essay. I AM the publisher and so my instincts, and mine alone, are in charge. I can do whatever I damn well please with the notes. They can, if I choose, function as thousand-word sub-essays. (5)
I gotta get back to work. But, yes, if anyone's wondering: Self-publishing is intellectually liberating in ways that I didn't expect.
Indeed, it sparks of a kind of intellectual ecstasy that deepens my appreciation for the life in the digital age. Like moving from iron to steel or something like that.
Feels good. Is good. My brain has never been happier.
By the way: The [working] name of my publishing wing:
Everything Is Fodder Press
Maureen Ogle, Proprietor
1. My site's an extension of my "real" house. I've invited you into the living room. I plan to behave accordingly and hope you will, too.
2. Unlike, alas, the innards of this website platform, which I otherwise like. Which is why my notes here are not linked to the main blog post.
3. The obligations and The expectations are subtle but real. I contract to give the publisher a "publishable" book, and the publisher promises to publish it. The crucial point being "publishable," as defined by them, not me.
4: The beer book? I only learned its title when they sent me the book jacket. I was like: What? Okay, yes, the title was better than mine, but at least they could have asked me, right? And I had zero say over the title of the meat book.
5: I'm interested in and thinking about a lot of insider baseball, cultural, meta stuff. It interests me and a few geeks but including it would slow the narrative pace to a bog march. So I plan to drop most of the IBCMS into the notes.