As I’ve been working on my book, I’ve developed a rather odd form of visual incentive. For each chapter I created a 3×5 index card, each taped one atop the other on the side of the bookcase next to my desk. As I worked on a chapter, I devised a series of notations which marked my progress. An open circle meant I had finished the “cull” of my notes and interviews, and was well into the writing process. A slash through the circle, from top left to bottom right, meant I was about a third through. A second slash, which comprised a “V” inside the circle, meant I was two thirds done. And a final continuation of the second slash outside the circle’s circumference and to the right – which made the whole thing look like a checkmark through the circle – meant I had finished the chapter’s first draft. I then wrote the word count of the chapter on the card, and moved on. (As I revised chapters, I revised the word count as well).
Well, I’m pleased to say that at about 5.30 today I marked the final check on my wall of 3×5 cards. While weeks of revisions, corrections, and possibly rewrites await me, the fact is, I have completed the first draft of this f*cking book. Nearly 90,000 words later, I’m at last into the realm of editing, as opposed to writing.
For whatever reason, well, for reasons too numerous to state, I wanted to let all of you know about that first. Thank you for being here with me as I labored over it. Now, I plan to go out with my wife and, most likely, drink far more than I probably should.