The reality of my current book draft is that I need to cut a lot. Thanks to my not understanding the difference between pages in Word and printed pages, my last manuscript was about twice the length the book needs to be.
The organizing principle for the book is my tag line: Work Less and Do More.
My editor just unveiled to me her suggestion that we cut two of the longest chapters entirely: Building stronger relationships and Persuading People.
Her argument is that those topics have the least to do directly with Working Less and Doing More. While I see a clear connection between engaging and persuading others and rallying them to your cause (I am, after all, a leadership development guy), in a book on personal productivity, they just might not be a close fit, especially if I’m 30,000 words over my word limit.
I’m emotionally invested.
Yet some of the material in these chapters is near and dear to my heart. I have some tips in both areas developed from my years involved with social psychology, cognitive psych, and NLP that I think people will find very valuable. But … maybe not quite on topic with the book.
I think deep down inside, I’m afraid if I take these out, people will think of me as too much of just a “label your file folders” kind of guy. To me, the people side of the equation is really key to living a good life (that’s the “do more” part), and when I go out to talk about the book, I’d like to be able to make it clear that I’m not just about sorting your paper clips. To me, that’s “work less” and is the least important part of working less and doing more.
Having a fulfilling life, however you define it, is “do more,” the most important part. For some people, that may mean sorting their paper clips. For others, it may mean building a multinational consortium to develop clean energy. For others, it may mean being a good spousal equivalent and parental unit. For others, it may be about catching the perfect wave, regardless of whether anyone else is even there to see.
My inner motivation is all about helping people reach their full potential. Being organized and efficient is only part of what that’s about for me.
What do you think?
- Do the topics fit?
- Should I cut them entirely?
- Can I eliminate them from the book without slotting myself into a narrow, “clean your office” type niche? (David Allen, for example, is very much about having a Zen mind, even though his techniques live in the details. Very much like mine.)
- Should I save them for a future book?
- Maybe they become part of my speeches based on the book, even though they’re not directly the book.
I’d value your feedback, because I’m a bit too emotionally attached to the material to be objective.