I have to create. Simple to understand. It's the way I am. I’ve explored this across a range of artistic disciplines for awhile but now I’m down to two, one more accessible and difficult: writing. The other, easier, is photography, but I like to do that casually, as a diversion. Preceding these two I worked eight years in independent film and experimental video. Still, writing is where it’s at essentially and existentially, as it had been professionally in the past.
My output is prolific. But a key outcome is poor. My work hasn't caught on, though I have had a couple of short stories and poems published and self-published short novels since I started again this year. It may never. How does that affect me? If I think of a work in terms of the outcome of catching on, I'm dismayed and often feel the labor isn't worth it. Yet, I'm drawn back to it. Like now, even this way.
Rationally, I'm looking at this at the moment in the context of the logic model: input, activity, output, outcome. I want to explore each of these as they are in their distinctiveness and as they interplay synergistically. Maybe I'll write in an explorative way about this too, likely piecemeal at first: like, what research approaches help a work and how not to avoid due diligence.
Eileen introduced to me to the logic model a few years ago as a method of program evaluation she first encountered at Cornell University which has gained broad use in the nonprofit, academic and for-profit world. It is a praxis model, cyclical, involving resources and needs or goals in one sense, and how to evaluate the effectiveness of what a program sets out to do and what can be put into play to increase its effectiveness, or to decide the program isn’t capable of reaching the intended goal.
In this way, I can look at writing as a program and how I work it. I fully understand there are a multitude of intangibles in terms of outcomes - the publication of a work, the sale of books and so forth - especially given the limited possibilities for publication and a broad acceptance of a work and a writer. But given that, the value in the logic-model approach appears to me to lie also in its three other components: inputs, activities and outputs and how these interplay. In the creative process itself.