Today has been a very productive day as I get on with my book looking at writing blocks within the academic environment. I'm at the point where I basically have the material separated into chapters and I am now moulding the individual chapters.
I have created book length manuscripts before, novels and one less ambitious attempt at a non-fiction work. Yet, this feels different. The chapters have to function separately - who reads an academic book from cover to cover? - as well as feeling part of a whole. There are strands that move through all the chapters which somehow have to be securely tied. Readers have to be signposted so they can pick out the bits which will be useful to them. Repetition is OK to a certain extent though needs to be kept an eye on and contradiction needs to be avoided.
Right now it feels like I'm spinning a lot of plates. It's not unmanageable. However, last night I did dream that I was in this huge university and every time I went out of my room I got hopelessly lost. So maybe I am being naively optimistic about my capabilities to keep it all together.
Last week we explored the Simon Armitage/Ilkley Festival Stanza Trail (http://www.ilkleyliteraturefestival.org.uk/test/stanza-stones-trail-guide). We had a lot of fun: Ilkley21012 searching out the poems. Though we never did find the poetry seat which was a shame. And despite the general myth about poets being weedy characters, this trail is not for the faint-hearted!