I’ve been pushing myself to get the second book of the Modern Management Made Easy triad ready for my technical reviewers. I found a ton of little problems and then I realized I had several big problems. I needed to redesign—and rewrite—the first and last chapters.
This happens to me a lot when I write books. Many non-fiction writers—after they “finish” writing the book—realize the first chapter isn’t quite right. And, then we often rewrite/reorganize the last chapter. (Not all people. Many of us.)
However, I finally got that book out to my reviewers last night. I felt great. I was tired—I don’t normally work that late at night. And, I felt as if I’d moved past a big hurdle. In terms of the Satir Change Model, I had moved into a New Status Quo.
That got me thinking about how I see milestones. When I finished the technical-review version of the first book, I thought I would zoom through the rest of the books. I had the bones of the books. How hard could it be?
And, then I received feedback. Oh boy. I was not going to zoom anywhere. (I was back in Chaos, searching for a Transforming Idea.)
As I worked through the feedback, I wondered if that phase of writing/clarifying/organizing would ever end. Not so much for the first book, but for the second book.
I moved from the happiness that I’d achieved that first milestone to not-quite-dread—all because I realized I had opened much more work.
Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I had that Eureka moment—the Transforming Idea. The work wasn’t easy. And, I could see the path to finishing. (I was in Practice and Integration.)
I’ve seen these feelings in my clients, too. They get partway to a goal and then feel a little stuck. The happiness of meeting that first goal fades, once we realize we’re not done.
And, what occurs when you actually finish the entire project? For books, there are several finishing points:
- Finish the writing
- Finish all the editing
- Finish all of what I’ll call asset organization—all the details you need to publish the book. (In the case of a paper book, the index and more assets like that.)
- Publishing to the various platforms
I’m self-publishing these books, so I’m doing all four pieces of finishing.
Finishing is not my strong suit. I’m fine with the first two pieces of finishing. And, then, I need checklists because the last two steps are all about the details. I’ve finished the books, do I really need to finish with all the details?
If you, like me, have trouble with details, you might consider what I have finally learned to do. I declare steps 3 and 4 above as their own project. I get to be excited about the project again because it’s quite different from what I did before.
Gathering data and publishing don’t feel anything like the creative work of writing to me. I get to start a “new” project. I get to change my experience of Chaos-as-dread to Chaos-as-excitement. I get to experience the entire Change Model again. I like that.
I am not suggesting you follow my example of the “creative project” followed by the “publishing project.” That happens to work for me. All because I need the excitement of Chaos and the Transforming Idea to propel me forward. It’s all about how I feel when I achieve a major milestone.
That is the question of the week: how do you feel when you achieve a significant milestone?