On Tuesday I turned in the first draft of my book, the culmination of over a year’s work, with about seven months of nearly straight writing. So I’m relieved and happy.
I’m still doing some research and filling in some blanks, and we’ve got a ton of editing ahead of us over the next couple of months. But the hardest part is done.
Dave Winer compares bootstrapping a software project to the way suspension bridges get built, beginning with one thin cable stretched from dry land at one end to dry land at the other. When you’re writing a book, the equivalent of that first cable is probably creating the first outline — that’s the first time you can see the whole text from its opening to its conclusion, and get an overview of how the pieces fit together.
The first draft is something different: I don’t know if there’s an equivalent in the world of bridges. This is now my second time through it, and all I can say is that its completion brings a feeling of enormous relief, tinged by a little regret. The relief comes from the knowledge that this vague notion you once had in your mind has now become something real that other people can share. There were no disasters along the way. The thing worked! The regret comes from realizing that, of that vague original notion, only some fraction has survived the transfer from brain to page.
The title is Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It’s Becoming, and Why It Matters. It is in Crown’s Summer 2009 catalog, with an expected publication date of early July. You will be hearing much more about it here from now on, along with much more of everything, as I return to a more regular posting schedule. To those of you who have stuck with me here through the lean months, I’m grateful for your continued attention.