Sunday, May 31, 2009


just over 29,000 now.

I'm having trouble seeing the whole project. I'm also wondering whether I really need to be striving for 60,000--it seemed such a nice, optimistic number, but does it really suit my subject? Most of the books similar to mine seem to be maybe in the 40-50,000 range.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

irregular blogging, but some regular writing

I am managing to stay with the project, though the last three days have seen only minimal progress.

I suppose it's reasonable at some point to take a short break, but I want to keep it moving--otherwise the project won't get done.

At the same time, I know that projects just take a long time to develop. I have a book in proposal to a publisher right now (I'm the second author) and the commissioning editor was talking about how if we get a contract going this summer, we can hope to have the book out next May. She was surprised to hear that we actually have an almost-complete draft, and as best I can tell, we are ahead of the curve in terms of actually having things when we say we'll have them and not creating delays. And this with a project that has been in the works for about two years, with two of us working on it, and funding to support the effort. Thus I need to be cool about the fact that I'm on a second draft (no complete first draft yet) of this project which is in its second year, and I still only have a half-draft. As long as I keep plugging, there will be a complete draft.

The sooner the better, but no panic.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


with about 600 words this morning, my complete draft is now at about 27000 words--almost half the way there. And I haven't even started adding in the material that I decided to add back in when I changed my mind about who the audience would best be.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

still moving...

another 300+ words...not fast progress, but at least I'm still with it. It's growing slowly but surely.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A few hundred

struggling with major questions--can't decide on what audience to aim at, and not sure which audience would be better overall--partly because the idea of what is better overall is complex, and partly because the main concern in my wish for better overall is largely based on what audience will buy more books, or at least, what audience will appear as a more likely market to a publisher--because it seems to me that getting the book published would be pretty neat.

Despite that struggle with major questions, there are still some parts that Ican work on--and I managed about 600 words.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

minor work

today and yesterday, I did some excavation of old notes trying to find pieces that fit into the new vision of the book. I found some.

My total draft is now at about 25,000 words--slightly less than halfway there.
It gets hard at this point to keep the project moving. It's hard to keep in mind all that has been done and all that is wanted, and to keep focus on the different aspects as well as the overarching goals.

Frustration sets in here, too.
It's nice to have the record and to be able to look back and see that eight days ago, the draft as at 17,000 words. Seeing progress helps deal with frustration.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

making progress

I didn't get a ton of writing done today, but I did get some.

At latest count, my current draft is 22,000 words, or about a third of the way there.
Right now it's feeling pretty hard to find more words.

Is my estimate of 60,000 for a target too ambitious?
It's too early to tell.
When I get to 40,000, then I might be able to make a better judgment, but even that seems like a long way away--another 18,000 words--weeks of work. At least one week, if that week is very productive--but it's a rare week that I can average 3000 words a day.

Best not let that daunt me: push on.

I did get evidence that my writing will get a decent reception in the publishing world--at the least, the book that I have been working on editing and annotating (as the second author/editor, behind my former dissertation chair), is getting very positive treatment from the commissioning editor at the publishing house that we submitted to. She wrote and said "Unusually, there were no suggestions from the reviewers for any changes, so I feel very confident that my Publishing Board will be as enthusiastic about the book as I am." I don't think an author can ask for much better than that.

And this is all the more reason to push on, so that this book can get a similarly good reception. I hope it can. But it's 38,000 words and a proposal away from that.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


today I pretty much just wrote about writing. I didn't write hardly anything that I have any intention of using as part of my book, but I did write 500+ words about what I want to write and asking questions about how I want to structure it.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

not actual writing...

I did spend about 40 minutes with my book this morning, and excavated a good 430 words from an old draft. It's not actually writing, but...

It can be a matter of some despair to see how little of an old draft is usable...a lot of effort went into those old words. But the framing of the work changed, and with that, whole sections simply need to be completely rewritten--or rather most of the old work is no longer usable for its words, only for its ideas.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Day off to celebrate (and do other work)

Today I was distracted by a letter from an editor at what I hope will be my publishing house for a book I'm working on (as second author):

"I thought I would send the two reviews I have received on to you.
As you can see the feedback is overwhelmingly positive and it is clear that there is a real gap in the market for a work of this kind. Unusually, there were no suggestions from the reviewers for any changes, so I feel very confident that my Publishing Board will be as enthusiastic about the book as I am."

And then I was told that another book to which I contributed a chapter will be out in June.

And with all that, and some work to do for other folks, and a birthday party for my friend, somehow it feels pretty easy to skip the other book for a day.

Which probably isn't the best excuse...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

500+ words

pretty good--a spate of late night writing and some excavation.

Working on envisioning the entire structure, but trying to figure also, what to add, detail-wise, to get to my overall goal of a 60,000-word draft.

My total draft right now: just under 20,000.
The other 40,000 seem pretty far off.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

moderate productivity

Maybe 500 words; a little more excavation.

Also, I did more work defining the aim and the intentions for the structure. I'm currently aiming at about a 60,000-word draft, and I have currently about 17,000. In other words, I've got a lot of writing to do to get to the complete draft that I'm imagining. All the more reason to focus my efforts more intently on trying to write, and on committing to getting writing done regularly.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

keeping moving...

I managed to get in a not-so-quick 450 words this morning. Wish I had time for more.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Excavation and archaeology

One big problem I have as a writer is actually using what I write.

I take it for granted that things need to be revised and rewritten. And I often write things that I don't like. And I often get stuck on a project because I wrote something I didn't like.

And what gets lost is that the project may also have some good writing in it. Sometimes I have to go back and see what I wrote and discarded to get back some of the good ideas that motivated me as I worked in the past.

This morning I did a little of that. Having not written for a few days, I put writing at the top of my priority list this morning. But on starting, I found myself considering issues that I have written about before. So I went excavating. I don't know that it was faster than just writing might have been, but I found about 2000 words that I could reuse without much revision.

Two days, no writing.

But I am still committed to the project, and I recognize that the project is much more likely to stall if I don't jump right back on it.

But I'm tired now.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Another slow day

But I managed about 150 words.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

just more than 100 words today

managed to get back to it just before midnight.
At least I got something done.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

today's progress

limited...but I wrote about 200 words.
Struggling to keep the project moving and not let distractions stop me. And not let fear stop me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Keeping the momentum

So I didn't do much writing yesterday, and only in the last minute did I get to some today--not much--about 100 words, and I think that will be all.

But remaining committed to trying to realize a goal--in this case a book--is necessary for any project that takes a long time. If you can't stick with it, you won't finish. And I personally want to finish this project, not just let it slip into the background.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Didn't make a ton of progress this weekend; felt low; struggled with feeling like my writing isn't worth the effort.

But I did make a little progress. And, for all that I'm feeling bad about what I do write, I feel worse when I don't write. 200 words today. Very little, but more than nothing.

Friday, May 1, 2009

decent day today

over a thousand words, and feeling like I have ideas.
Feeling a little bit lost about structure, but trying to plow ahead to get to a draft that feels complete.
Some of what I have written tonight, I'm not sure how it fits into the structure yet, but I see it as being crucial to the discussion...

The exploration of the ideas and the possible orders in which they could be presented--it's a little mind-boggling...

In the draft I started last week, I now have 8000 words, but I'm entering the danger zone where I'll have gotten far enough in that the problems I face are difficult to answer, and I need to be able to stick with the project. Eight thousand words is easy enough, especially if they're not entirely coherent. But extending that by a factor of seven? Oy. That's a lot more to keep in mind and to see as part of a coherent whole.

missed a day, but got it going again

Yesterday I didn't get any writing in,
but I managed to get about 700 words today--late in the day (well, it's really tomorrow already, but I'm counting it as today).

I feel like the project is still moving forward, and I have ideas on how to proceed.