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First Draft, Complete

By - February 05, 2005

BookwallAs 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.

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  • Tom Harpel

    Congrats! Excellent news. Us here on the sidelines are cheering for you.

  • Martin Nisenholtz

    You haven’t just written a book — you’ve pioneered a whole new approach to publishing. Congrats, John.

  • Jeff Coyle

    Congrats John, where can I buy stock in the book? ;)

  • Jozef Imrich

    For I am like a passenger waiting for his ship at a war-time port. I do not know on which day it will sail, but I am ready to embark at a moment

  • Andy Beal

    Congrats John!

  • Tim Bishop

    Congratulations — it has been fun to watch the journey and occasionally kibitz. I look forward to reading the end product online, then buying a signed copy next year when it is finally published on dead trees.

  • ID:entity

    Are you able to summerise how writing a blog and allowing that “conversation” to happen, has in some way assisted, shaped, changed aspects of the book?

  • Jeremy C. Wright

    John, thanks for writing this. I’m just about to start on my book, and I love the cards idea. I’m totally stealing it!

  • cl

    congrats…damn though, im like 15000 into my book and i thought i was doing well. good work. love the note card idea.

  • Noel

    I suggest you take the notecard idea with you as you imbibe at the local watering holes. Draw a circle as you walk through the door, first slash for the first drink, second slash for the second drink, and complete the mark as you leave the tip – then on to the next establishment.

    Cheers mate!! Looking forward to more news and views!!