Cover Story

Some updates on writing a book:

So far, so good! I’m maintaining a pace of a little over 1,000 (very, very raw) words per day. I am absolutely not one of those people that spins straw into gold on the first pass. My first drafts tend to be very scattered and rambling, and benefit tremendously from editing. At the same time, if I try to edit as I go, paying attention to flow and structure, I cut my output down by 80% or more. So it’s definitely better for me to just power through it all and edit (or, better still, have someone else edit) it later.

Usually I end up happy with most of what I write, it just needs dramatically different structure than it naturally takes as it falls out of my brain onto the page. My thoughts aren’t always well-organized in their natural state.

Speaking of organized thoughts: I don’t know how I lived without Evernote. I’ve always been someone who created elaborate organization systems for any project I’m working on, but the actual format has changed on a case-by-case basis. I’ve used everything from Google docs to files & folders on my PC and so on. Evernote has replaced them all, and the versatility is incredible.

I think now that the path of this book is starting to look like this:

  1. Get all the raw words written. That’s the clay from which I’ll sculpt everything else, and nothing else will matter until that exists. At my current pace, that should be within 2 months.
  2. Deep dive on research. As I’ve been writing, I’ve been making notes of sections where I feel my existing knowledge is more limited. When the raw work is done, that will leave me with a very directed research list of things to dive into. I’m not sure how long that will take; that’s a good topic to ask my writing mentor (to give myself additional accountability and access to expertise, I’ve employed the services of a great writing mentor to go along on this trip with me – something I highly recommend for things you’re doing for the first time).
  3. Re-write or add to sections based on new knowledge. Once I have my weak spots strengthened a bit, I want to make sure those sections are adequately updated.
  4. First big editing pass, self-directed. At this point, I want to just sit down and look at the book I’ve written so far, from the perspective of an eventual reader. I’m sure there will be big things I want to move around, and I want to tackle the big, obvious pieces myself.
  5. After that, it’s off to the process of handing it off to other professionals! I think that’s likely to be in February-ish of next year, but since this is very much my first rodeo, I’m aware that might change.

All in all, I’m very pleased with the progress so far, both in terms of the actual project and in terms of the personal value I’m extracting from this process. I’m enjoying it as I go, and learning new things. That’s the best part.

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