August 28, 2015
Book Deadline: T-Minus Six Weeks
I’ve officially completed my last flight of the summer! After 16 weeks of straight travel (minus one vacation), my body and brain are beyond ready for a break. I do still have a few train trips scheduled up and down the Northeast Corridor, but those are not as taxing.
Why the break from air travel, you may wonder? Well, a few reasons: The IronGirl event (see picture below! I made it!), both of my kids start new schools this year, and . . . The Together Leader is due to my editor on . . . duh, dum. . . October 1st. It’s incredibly challenging for me to both teach workshops and be in a writing mindset. So here’s the status update on where things are.
The good news is that a member of my team pushed me to write a strong table of contents and stream of consciousness draft in Spring 2014. I’m so glad I did because it allowed me to sit on those 80,000 words during Summer 2014’s trainingtravelopalooza. Then I picked the manuscript back up for Fall 2014 and Winter 2015 and sent a draft of the book to my editor this past April. I also sought feedback from a few other authors and a lot of workshop participants.
So, what’s left? The most painful parts, namely:
- Determining which feedback is most important to incorporate
- Revising chapters accordingly
- Soliciting samples, quotes and citations
- Ensuring that the art log, graphics, Reader’s Guide and videos are in strong shape
- Nailing a decent sub-title
Here’s my approach as I take The Together Leader to the finish line:
1. Block time. I have adequate (I hope) time blocked in my Outlook calendar to revise. This time is usually scheduled in the mornings, before my family is awake. This summer, I discovered that I REALLY like to write and blog RIGHT after workshops. I never would have considered this before, but it turns out my mind is often churning at this point and totally ready to write – though not revise.
2. Track feedback. I’m beyond grateful to have so much input, but it’s coming at me from many, many directions. Some of my early readers marked up a manuscript and sent me a scanned version, others marked up text hard copy and mailed it to my house, others sent Word documents, and still others just emailed bullet points. I could easily drown in all this good feedback. Luckily, Meghan, my AMAZING book production coordinator, created one MASSIVE document that organizes the feedback by chapter AND by reviewer. Here’s a snapshot of the 50-page behemoth:
3. Create a countdown plan. I’m sure there are many sophisticated hosts for my project plan, like Asana, Trello, or Smartsheet. But I know myself well enough to know that when the rubber hits the road, I need a table in a Word document. I adapted this one from Shelby’s dissertation planning table. Because of the time blocking mentioned above, I’ve stayed very careful about knowing how many hours I have per week to revise.
PS I’m playing around with various sub-titles. Cast your vote in the comments below! Or suggest something new altogether!
- The Together Leader: Maximize your Mission
- The Together Leader: Create Systems for Self, Team and Organization
- The Together Leader: Plan, Prioritize and Protect your Time! (I’m liking this one, but it doesn’t speak to the mission-driven/non-profit aspect of our work)
- The Together Leader: Realize Your Mission