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The Joys of Public Accountability

On 16 August, I wrote, "Why Isn't My Book Done?" I committed to editing it and having it edited by August 25th.

August 25th: -Proofable -Cohesive -Able to sell the book without blushing

I set these goals with a friend of mine who is also a writer - it was a pretty ambitious goal, because I finished the rough draft back in February, and not much has happened in the six months since then. Now, I was going to get it to the point where my work is proofable and cohesive in just two weeks?

And yet, it's done. Actually, I'd still blush a little if I went to sell a copy, since I should clean up the formatting, add a title page, things like that. But content wise it's solid enough that I'd take a USD $20 note from someone and hand them a copy bound in hardcover, and I'd feel they got a really good deal.

If I hadn't set this goal and been accountable publicly, to my friend and to everyone who reads here, I wouldn't have done it in two weeks. Honestly - I'm pretty internally motivated, but I've had a lot of stuff going on the last two weeks, it wouldn't have happened. But it did happen, largely because I was publicly accountable.

Writing and Editing Summary

On Mike Dariano

I finally finished editing the first draft, it took five hours in about eight different pieces. It was rough. I couldn’t believe how many times I misspelled a certain word or wrote ‘two’ instead of ‘too’. I’ve been adding words to my list of Google Docs ‘Always correct to’ faster than a ten-year-old going through a Christmas catalog.

The actual writing process in Google Docs has gone well. I’ve found that the service is much faster if I switch my wifi off and this brings the added bonus of not looking up words or ideas. I don’t get distracted via Twitter while writing - but do so immediately before and after - but will click through dozens of Wikipedia pages. Doc’s spell check seems to work a bit different offline but for editing and making changes I’ve left the wifi on.

Following Jamie Rubin’s advice I’ve been limiting my documents to about ten-thousand words each and the speed of accessing different parts is acceptable. I don’t have anything to compare this to so I can’t really say if this is above or below some average.

In commenting on my work I’ve found that bolding ideas works much better than inserting comments. These bold ideas stand out just as well and let me keep anything I that write. They also require a bit less managing, it’s easier to delete or remove the formatting rather than approve or delete a comment. I’m also using the ??? string to indicate an area of writing I’m not sure about. After writing then I can search for ??? using CTRL-F and move through the document rather quickly.

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