I’m now late on finishing the first draft of the book, and I’m appalled at how far I have left to go. I based my estimations of how fast I could write on various client writing and things I’d done recently. The book is totally trashing those numbers.
One of the biggest problems seems to be that when I have a conceptual framework, I can write about it, apply it, and generate lots and lots of interesting content. In this book, though, I have lots and lots of random tactical tips. They aren’t linked by any framework or underlying concept, so each chapter, though short, feels like writing a whole separate book. My brain is not happy about this.
For example, if I’m writing an article on how to give feedback, there’s a mental framework I use about saying something positive, giving clear measurables, etc. I can write a chapter about it by giving examples, telling stories, and going deeper into each point. I can then write follow-on chapters by going even deeper into subtle variations on the basic situation, times when feedback is tricky because there are political or romantic implications, etc.
But when I’m writing two pages on giving feedback, followed by two pages on how to write an email subject line… I go to all the work of creating framework and examples for feedback, skim the surface, and then have to purge my brain and start all over with the email chapter.
I tried conversationally creating chapters by just talking about individual tips, but even in that context, I find myself needing to pull together a framework while I talk. My dialog comes out incoherent.
This very blog post is a great example. it’s taken me all of five minutes to write, and it has one underlying concept: writing this book is hard because it’s a mismatch for my cognitive style. I could keep going, most likely, with more examples, exceptions, and possible suggestions I’d give a coaching client who had this same problem. If I could sustain this rate, I could have the book done in three days.
With no underlying concept, though, this would be two sentences long.
Gotta run. The book chapter I’m working on … is currently just two sentences long.