So, it’s done. As I’m typing this, it is Saturday, April 26. I finished a few days earlier than I had anticipated or was required to. Wednesday, I posted the book to the website and so far the response has been positive. Over the past few days, before finalizing the book, I had many uncertainties crop up.

  • How long should the book be? Pages of text.
  • What should I say???
  • How many pictures should I include?
  • What should the format be? Portrait, landscape, square?
  • How will I know if it is right?!

As of a couple of days ago, I only had the pictures and a vague idea of what the overall structure of the book might be.

What I learned
A book is a very personal thing. The pictures, their groupings, your words, etc, portray your vision. There is no right or wrong. Sure, there are accepted ways of structuring the book, but as for sequencing the pictures and grouping them, that’s totally up to you and your intuition. There’s probably not a guide for that. There may be some broad guidelines, but ultimately, it’s up to you to decide.

Finding the layout
Quite frankly, it found me, I suppose. I had no idea where to go, but strangely, I wasn’t troubled. I simply grabbed one of the few Tao books that I have and sat in my favorite place in the house and read. I wasn’t reading for inspiration, but just reading because I like to read. Sometime later, it hit me! Doh! I know what I like, how I feel, and what “floats my boat”, so I decided on a few chapters that matched those things that I really have an affinity for:

Contrasts or opposites (yin/yang)
Tao Te Ching

And, just like that, I had my chapters. The hard part was in placing the pictures, but I just cruised all my available pictures and when I found one that I liked, I placed it. Then, I started over cruising for a match. All by intuition. Believe me, there was no logic nor rationalization involved. This was strictly on feeling alone. After I had the chapters, the rest just sort of fell into place.

Knowing when to say “no”
After I got on a roll, the hard part was in stopping. I had a lot of pictures that I wished to share, but didn’t want to overwhelm the reader, or myself. There’s a point of diminishing returns. A point where once shouldn’t pass, less the reader get tired and disinterested. I don’t know where the point is, but I didn’t want to go there.

Holding a cup and overfilling it
Cannot be as good as stopping short.

Pounding a blade and sharpening it
Cannot be kept for long.

Would I go it again?
In a month, I don’t know; however, my approach may be different. As far as shooting, I’m pretty disciplined. I love to shoot, so I do it at least 2 days / week. I’d like to expand that to 5 days. Perhaps 5 days @ 20 minutes/day, or something like that. When I think of putting together another book, the inevitable question arises: What would it look like. This, by far, was the most difficult part of the process … coming up with a book design. I understand why artists (writers, photographers, etc) turn this part of the process over to a professional. It’s not easy, at least not for me.

The next book?
Rocks. Rocks appeal to me an some level. There’s so much history visible, so much strength. I find them very appealing, especially when they are near water, like a lake, ocean, or stream … Perhaps it will be entitle Yin & Yang

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