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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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10 thoughts on “First Draft, Complete

  1. Tom Harpel says:

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

  2. Martin Nisenholtz says:

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

  3. Jeff Coyle says:

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

  4. Jozef Imrich says:

    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

  5. Tim Bishop says:

    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.

  6. ID:entity says:

    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?

  7. 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!

  8. cl says:

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

  9. Noel says:

    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!!