Productively Writing About Productivity

Well, it’s completed. For now.

A year and a half ago I started writing about productivity.

I wasn’t sure what I was ultimately going to do with it. It felt like a book and I’ve pitched it as such to multiple publishers, none of which have taken me up on the offer.

Two drafts were completely blown up by me at various points over the last 18 months. They just weren’t working and I no longer cared for the way the narrative was coming together. Eventually I found a structure for the writing that made sense.

And now the first draft is finished.

There’s work to be done, for sure. Each section needs editing. New material needs to be added and some needs to be removed. Typos need fixing and I’m sure some of my sentence structure leaves plenty to be desired.

They say that the most important part of the first draft is reaching the end. Stop dithering, procrastinating and editing and finish the damn thing. It may be crappy, but that’s what editing is for. So I’ve at least accomplished that much.

As I go through the painful editing process – including reviewing the 40+ pages of notes with additional items compiled while I was writing – I’ll also be finally deciding what form this is all going to take.

Having it published as a book would be great, but it runs so against the mainstream it’s hard to see who would take a chance on it.

It could wind up as a series of blog posts. It could be a blog of its own. It could be an email newsletter.

All that is still to come, though. For now I’m going to bask in the glory that is a completed first draft before going too deeply into the anxiety surrounding “OK BUT NOW WHAT, THILK!” There’ll be time enough for that.

A key learning experience for me in this process was that it was alright to write slightly differently but still sound like myself. That’s something I’ve done often, but never with material like this and it took some getting used to. My usual voice and tone weren’t right for the subject matter (resulting in the scraping of one of the early attempts) and a whole new approach was needed. After a few tries, I got the one that felt right.

18 months is the longest I’ve ever worked on a single writing project of any kind. There were months, admittedly, I didn’t touch the draft. It felt imposing at times and I considered abandoning it more than once. Now that this first pass is finished, though, I’m incredibly happy I stuck with it. However this is shared, I’m proud of what I’ve produced and feel it’s wholly unique, unlike anything anyone is putting out there. Which means it could be a hit, or a massive flop.

That’s the future, though. More writing awaits between now and then.

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