Why isn't my book done?
I started thinking about the idea sometime last year, started organizing my notes and outlines in August 2009, and started writing a little in November or December before shelving it.
I was on fire in Taipei, Taiwan in January. Everything was just right, I wrote 4,000 words on a bad day, and my best day was 17,000 words. Book was complete in rough shortly afterwards.
I was in Northern Thailand in February, in Chiang Mai. I was going to edit, but I didn't really. I was kind of flat. I played a lot of Conquer Club online, surfed around, didn't really get anything done. Then I was traveling around and I wasn't really working on the book.
In fact, I never sent anyone a copy until maybe three weeks ago, when I gave it to one of my friends who was asking. He's a great guy, amazing guy, but I was even gunshy about sending it to him. Lord knows why. If you do creative works, maybe you understand this. If you haven't done anything creative and this doesn't make sense to you, I can't explain it. I think creative people will understand a little.
So I gave it to my friend, and mind you, I hadn't actually opened up the book in a couple months at that point, it was kind of something on the back of my periphery of my mind. And then I wind up sitting down with a friend of mine who is also a writer, and trying to finish his book, and I think - we should set some accountability goals.
I ask him, "When could you have yours done by if you really geared hard to do it?" And he said - "Two weeks from now, August 25th."
And I thought - "Could I do that?" And my first inclination is no, I have lots of things on, and besides, my book's been a rough draft for seven months, there's no way I could edit it down in two weeks.
And then I stopped. Because I'd asked the wrong question. And so I re-asked, "How could I do that?" And I started sketching out ideas.
By tomorrow: Write down:
-Why isn't Critical Thinking ready to ship?
-What's wrong with it?
-What would have to be done for it to be ready?
-Able to sell the book without blushing
Do this for 2-4 hours per day
I prepared my rough guidelines over a few days, and figure I've got 11 days to cover the roughly 330 pages in the book - that's 30 pages per day. Yesterday I did all of section one.
Before editing, it was 34 pages and 18,028 words. After editing: 32 pages, 16,219 words. Took me about two and a half hours to do.
There'll be a lot to do after editing is finished, but I'll have a cohesive, proofable book that I wouldn't blush at selling someone a copy. Just deciding to get it done, being accountable to two close friends, and now making a public commitment - it'll be pretty much done on August 25th. A little scary, but very exciting.
Do you have anything 90% done? What would happen if you made a firm commitment to another person? A public commitment? What if you asked, "How could I get this done?" I bet you could it. I'm doing it. It feels good, exciting. A little scary, but good. What would it take for you to complete one of your projects?