Publishing a book in a year

Publishing a book in a year: June

Hi all. For this month’s post I thought I would try and capture my progress over 4 weeks. You will see from the below that this is only 10 days of writing (I say ten days, that’s ten planned days, which quickly got squashed on all sides by other things). I have tried to capture my reflection on each day as I go and have been as honest as I can. Some days I shared the music I was listening to. But not every day. Anyway, I hope you enjoy.

Day 1 – Set up SharePoint. Try many times and fail. Eventually crack it and upload all files to date. Can now worry less about my laptop dying/going missing and losing all my work.

Day 2 – Finish reading “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon. Decide to create a separate to-do list just for book writing with lots of small and easy to complete aims. Plan out part 1 of book. 6000 words. Draw the contents on a large page. Reorder the entire section. Add a few missing topics. Feel much better about the book.

Day 3 – Have officially started writing the book. After an hour of procrastination I finally decide to write the first sentence “I can’t ride a bike.” No idea if it will make the final cut, but it’s a start. Having broken the proverbial ground, get up a serious head of steam (lots of nice engineering metaphors there!) Planned to write 1000 words. Wrote 3000. Win. Considering taking the next two days off.

Music – Nils Frahm

Day 4 – Spent most of the day trying to find a coffee shop to work in. Was hoping to get a photo of me writing in a refurbished toilet, where sinks have been converted into desks. But the coffee machine had broken. Ended up writing in my office instead. Another 3000 words committed to ‘paper’. Win.

Music – Craven Faults

Non writing day – Went to a timber conference. Learnt about a number of possible case studies. Win.

Day 5 – Just received an email to say I’ve forgotten to do some marking [expletive] – manage to review first chapter, update some figures and save everything online. Then spent the afternoon marking. Still ahead of schedule – but next few days have gone from writing days, to meeting days with some gaps for writing. Also reviewed and signed book contract. Result. Once my co-author has also signed can share the big news that XXXXXX will be publishing the book. Until then keeping schtum.

Music – Anthony Shake Shakir.

Day 6 – Another email arrived (well 100’s but you know) and I now need to urgently moderate another project – my days book writing has shrunk to just a few hours, oh well. Sit and drink coffee and try and map my next chapter. This one is large and complicated – it’s on all the different dimensions of regenerative design, and I am trying to think creatively about these. Spend an hour and a half mapping and remapping on a number of large A3 pages. Manage 3 of the 5 planned topics (although may need to add/remove topics as things come together) and now my head hurts. Decide to take a break and do the marking instead. Realise that in my head is a swirling spaghetti of ideas. But pulling them out into linear ideas that make sense is somewhat challenging. Decide that to do that well it is better to do it slowly. Will review and revisit tomorrow.

Music – A variety of releases on the Hakuna Kulala label

Day 7 – My writing day ended up being a writing hour. Shame. Did manage 1000 words of the next chapter, which feels like a start. On the plus side agreed and signed a contract for the book with the publisher (again). Win. And another one for another book at the same time, double win! (It’s for an old book which is almost done and I just hadn’t got round to signing the contract – amateur!) Having had recent trouble accessing books for students that I have written for my own teaching (a story for another day) I ensured an institutional electronic license was included in the contract as well as a few paper copies – TIP! Oh and I did make it to the coffee shop in the old toilets – but I didn’t sit at a sink or take a photo, next time.

Music – Afrorack

Day 8 – Took ages to find my flow – finally hit some fertile ground mid/late afternoon and then had to abruptly stop for a meeting.

Music – Niineta by Joe Rainey

Day 9 – Trying to pick back up where I left off. Why is it that you can’t just get straight back into the groove. I wonder if the words I’m writing today are the same words I would have written yesterday? They certainly are harder to come by. Also having a real wobble on the old “bike”. Feel like everything I am writing is about something, but is it regenerative. At one level I feel OK about that fact, but how many times can I say this isn’t actually regenerative design as I describe ideas before I lose the reader for ever and they stop reading? Hopefully a little longer. On the good news front, I managed to finally get a seat at the sink! And I took a photo, so I have a visual record. Not that I’m procrastinating or anything.

Music – 2562 and lots of techno-infused dubstep

Non-writing Days – It’s weird, as my writing days get squeezed, new moments are opening up. Today I had a couple of meetings cancelled and suddenly I had almost a whole afternoon to write. Managed 500 words, but more importantly I have finished a section, which I’ve been trying to finish for days. And I re-read the whole lot and I don’t think it is total rubbish – just needs lots of work – but that’s OK. Plus had my weekly writing boost as I met my co-author Oli for an extended coffee and – serious debate/knowledge share/skateboard addition to the bicycle analogy – session.

Music – Nails

Day 10 – Did someone say procrastination. It’s amazing, when writing gets tough all those jobs that you don’t want to do suddenly become really attractive. This afternoon I spent an hour uploading marks to Blackboard just to avoid writing. I did manage to do some future scanning (more on this in a future blog) and draw the map for the next section of the book. I also managed maybe 500 words. I read close to 100 pages of “What white people can do next” and realised how much overlap there is with regenerative design (which was obvious really). But on the productivity front it hasn’t been the hit it out the park type of day. I also spotted the other day that Oli keeps a daily word tally. I wish I had thought to do this, but I am also glad I didn’t, as I think, day by day, my output is going down.

Music – Underground Resistance

So that’s it. It’s been roughly a month. Some progress has been made, mostly on the photographing myself in different work places front, and there is still a huge amount to do ahead. But hopefully we will have something that looks like a first draft by the end of the summer.

James

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