Edits and editing your manuscript take longer when use waterfall project management for book writing

I decided today that I will never take the waterfall approach to writing a book ever again.

Because everything was done “in bulk” fashion, each part of the process (i.e. outlining, writing, editing, etc.) has become its own saga of work.

What infuriates me about this is that I know that this book will be awesome once it is finished; but man, oh man, I feel like I am never going to get the book there. Had I taken a “smaller” approach to the momentous task of writing this book, it would have made all the difference. But I have never gotten this far.

History of the Manuscript

I assumed the get-it-done mindset when I started W/O PWR for NaNoWriMo back in November of 2019. Failing to hit the word count for the month, I simply just kept writing. And I continued writing nearly every working day of 2020 until I finished the book in June of 2020. My first 50k+ manuscript. Yay!

Then it came to editing the manuscript.

The editing process has been a grind. Now coming to the end of 2021, I have put this book through three separate edits.

The first edit was by me. The second by my wife. This last one is being done by me, and I am doing it with a proof-book in my hand and a pen in the other.

Next Steps

As soon as I have made it through my pen-to-paper edit, I will have to systematically construct the edits I made in the proof-book to the virtual manuscript.

Once the implemention of those edits is finished, I am going to take one last pass-through reading the book out loud for an audiobook recording. Along the way, I am sure that I will pick up parts I want to shift or adjust, and so I will need to add those edits as well.

After that, I am going to make sure the layout of the manuscript is to my liking by sending in a proof request. Hopefully my wife will be done with her cover concept once it is time to request the last proof.

After I am satisfied with the final proof, I will send the book and the audio recording to Amazon to be published. Maybe I will send it in to book baby instead… but we’ll have to see about that.

Retrospective

If I were to go back to that first day when I was all, ‘Let’s write a book!’, I would have done three things:

  1. Each section I wrote would have had its own card on a kanban.
  2. The project’s repository would have been github
  3. Which I would have marked it Public

My reasoning for Kanban

Iteratively I have been working with Kanban boards for the last four or so years. I know first hand how useful it is to have a board, and how helpful it is seeing all the work in one place. Ironically, at no point did I think to make each addition that I included to the virtual manuscript as a card on a Kanban.

My thoughts on github

Do I like that github is owned by Microsoft? No.

But can I understate the power of versioning an iterative process through a kanban board? No.

Being able to version control sections of the virtual manuscript as they pass through emerging states of completion creates a tremendous amount of power.

So github will have to do.

My thoughts on writing publicly

I have maintained a blog on and off for years, partially due to working on projects that don’t want to be for public display. I understand the some projects aren’t like that.

My writing is not a private project.

Why I decided to write W/O PWR privately was because I had received some feedback from my audience to keep it on lock down until it was all done. I don’t know why I followed that feedback, I could have been getting way more feedback along the way instead of none… and now I will be releasing a book with only the feedback of my wife.

Even if no one would have read it publically, at least I would have had the mental box checked that others could see what I was writing.

Send off

Do you have thoughts on your process as a writer, how do you approach getting your words out there?

1 Comment

  1. I love reading about other writers’ creative processes, and this was a good insight. I myself don’t prefer kanban boards, but I do get a kick out of Scrivener’s cork board feature. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    Like

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