Whenever I start a new book, I get out a fresh banker’s box. This is something I stole from Twyla Tharp’s classic, The Creative Habit.
Tharp starts every new dance with a box. She writes the name of the project on the box, and fills it up with all kinds of stuff as she goes. She writes:
There are separate boxes for everything I’ve ever done. If you want a glimpse into how I think and work, you could do worse than to start with my boxes.
The box makes me feel organized, that I have my act together even when I don’t know where I’m going yet.
It also represents a commitment. The simple act of writing a project name on the box means I’ve started work.
The box makes me feel connected to a project. It is my soil. I feel this even when I’ve back-burnered a project: I may have put the box away on a shelf, but I know it’s there. The project name on the box in bold black lettering is a constant reminder that I had an idea once and may come back to it very soon.
Hopefully I won’t have to put this box up on the shelf until there’s a new book to put on the shelf, too.