Book Deadline: T-Minus Six Weeks

Aug 28, 2015

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 AsanaTrello, 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