February Book Update
I need better metrics, but....
I should have jotted down word counts somewhere before last month’s update, but alas, I did not.
The good news is that despite classes starting and a very heavy administrative load and a LOT of unexpected drama on the administrative side of things, I still made pretty good progress throughout January (you can link back to my January Update to get a feel for the rough structure of the book).
Word Counts Are Motivating (Right Now)
Despite not keeping a careful count, it’s safe to say I’m averaging around 3,000 words a week plus a blog post each week, which is a bit less than my reach goal but well within my baseline goal.
Currently, the theory chapters are nearing “shitty first draft” stage, which is very good news. Each of the primary theory chapters is around 5,000 words, which is about my goal length, with the intro sitting at 2,000 words and the chapter on social individualism still needing to be drafted. That’s about 23,000 words right there, which is pretty exciting.
Those numbers, of course, hid a lot of other uglier stuff (thus the modifier “shitty”). I’m at the stage where I’ll have to really dig into thinking about what stays and what goes, whether my examples are the best ones I could be using in particular cases, and I’ll need to watch my tone which, in some of the chapters, is a bit more strident than I’d like. I’m also not entirely sure that big chunks of these chapters may not need to just be jettisoned altogether. All that’s to say that, like with any book, the revisions will take longer than the drafting.
The less good news is that I’m emerging from my Dunning-Kruger nest and realizing that there are some areas I really need to dig into a lot more and other areas I’ll need to research a lot more before I get to anything like a decent draft.
Again, that’s to be expected, but this is the stage where the bloom falls off the rose a bit.
Next steps will involve starting drafts of the practical chapters, which I think will include large umbrella sections on life, politics, religion, and policy, but I’m still thinking these sections through. These should be fun sections to write though and I already have a pretty good idea of how I’ll approach each one, which is nice.
At some point in the next few months I’ll start querying agents and looking at publishers. But for February I’m focused on getting the shape of the book a little more clear before I start worrying about a prospectus.
For all two of you keeping track, here are some February goals, based on the rough plan of work I crafted January 1. So far I’m running a bit ahead of schedule, but I have reasons for thinking that will slow down a bit as the semester really gets moving. At any rate, my main goals are:
Publish one blog post a week, each Thursday.
Draft the chapter on social individualism.
Finish off the last section of each theory chapter. I was leaving the final section of each until I could see all the theory chapters together, but now is the time to finish these up.
Compare the theory chapters to ensure parallel structure but reduce overlap and repetition.
Start outlining the next sections and collecting likely examples/case studies.
Keep filling in the intro as ideas develop.
How you can help
As I mentioned in the January update, help is always welcome! Throw me ideas in the comments (or via email or messenger) on any of the following or other things I haven’t thought of yet. Ideas include:
News stories you’d like a radically moderate take on.
Cultural or social or political phenomena that you think help clarify or illuminate the importance of radical moderation.
Exceptions to radically moderate rules. Are there times when you think radical moderation doesn’t or can’t apply?
(Kind) disagreement. You think I’m way off base? Let me know why! Books get better with thoughtful interlocutors poking the weak spots. Poke away!
Offers to read chapters and provide feedback are always appreciated. If there’s a particular chapter you’d like to preview, just let me know.
Anything else you come up with!
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