Last week I took my third and final week “off” from work to make more serious progress on my book. I didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped, but I did get some work done. It was also nice to have a week where I could focus on the book instead of just working on it when I came home at the end of the day. It meant that I had time for hobbies after “work” and I was reminded of the importance of balance. It was a nice week all the way around.
The book is a really big project. & I like big projects. I think it’s nice to work on something that is large in scale and I like the learning that comes along with the process. So far, here is what I’ve learned (and you can add a parenthetical “for me” after each of them:
- 50,000 words really isn’t all that many. After National Novel Writing Month, at least.
- Editing is far harder than writing. Getting the word count was way easier than I thought it would be and editing is far harder.
- Editing content and grammar should come in two phases. Editing such a large project has to be done in multiple passes.
- A nonfiction book is really a series of short essays. The essays should flow together, but really a book can be thought of as a collection of 20-30 essays.
- A book is definitely a project to be chipped away at over a period of time, rather than written in fits and bursts. I’m having a hard time remembering why I put a place holder somewhere, or a specific story in another place. The weeks off were nice, but ended up causing more stress later on. Maybe it would have been better to work, say, an hour a day each Tuesday-Saturday every week rather than every day of some weeks, and some weeks not at all.
- There are low periods and high periods throughout the process. The low periods have been the times when I questioned the wisdom of adding a project of this scope to my plate. The high periods came when I first had a complete printed draft and when I make final passes through editing. These times are the ones when I realize the project will be complete in the near future.
I still have some editing to do, but this is where I am today. I’m sure there will be more lessons, but wanted to go ahead and document the project at this point in time.