5 days until final book deadline. There’s a certain amount of shaving and showering that should be happening but isn’t.
The true sign that I’ve reached the end game (as well as the low reserves of my mental faculties) is when I must resort to lab rat methods of motivation.
Witness (metaphorically only, unless you’re that kind person who sent me the vintage moose head and the 802.11g antenna that appears to be sticking up behind its left ear is transmitting video from an embedded camera) the small dish to the left of my keyboard. This morning, it contained eight peanut M&M’s. It now contains three. Each candy represents a specific item on today’s punchlist that must be completed before I’m allowed to close my eyes and adopt any posture that invites or even risks sleep.
Yes, I both need a tangible reward for each goal met, as well as a visible indicator of progress and a clear marker of when it’s time to walk away from the keyboard and follow the orange pixies into their magic gumdrop forest.
It is very appropriate that I’ll be boarding a plane and fleeing this whole half of the USA on the day I submit the last bits of this book. I think I’m going to desperately need to spend 48 hours forgetting everything about my office and cocooning myself in a world apart where there’s a king-sized bed, maid service, and cheerful Texans eager to ply me with barbecue.
You can tell that a project is going well when you’re pleased to be busting your ass. Case in point: my iPhone book, which is in its final week of writing.
It’s coming out great. It goes its own way and it justifies its existence in the marketplace and it’s going to make a lot of iPhone owners really happy with their purchases. Of both the iPhone and the book.
Oh, and iPod Touch owners, too. It would have been great to be one of the first to market but good God! The iPhone is a completely different beast today than it was two months ago.”iPhone Fully Loaded” won’t be the first iPhone book but it’ll probably be the first one to reflect the actual state of the world, not the one that existed a week or two after the release date.
Among the benefits: the evening after Apple announced the iPod Touch, I laughed and laughed and then I went through the manuscript, looking for places to change “iPhone” to “iPhone or Touch.” A couple of phone calls to the publisher and the marketing will reflect that it’s full of tips and techniques for Touch users. First to market!
So today I finally bit the bullet and canned Chapter 8. It was…interesting, but it was kind of just sitting there between chapters 7 and 9. I looked at its place in the structure of the book and suddenly remembered a much more interesting topic I’d come up with about a month ago, when the book was “locked.” But I had to put it aside, because I couldn’t insert a new chapter at that point without completely disrupting every chapter that came after it.
Welp, I realized that if I dumped the current Chapter 8 — which was damned-near complete — this new topic could slide right into its place. And nobody would have to spend two days renumbering illustrations and callouts because of an inserted chapter.
It was lots of work but damn, it’s much better than what I had there before. If the project were going poorly, an element that requires only 20 minutes of thumb-twiddling would feel like torture. As it is, at the end of six hours I was no farther along than I was when I started, vis a vis the number of completed chapters. But I couldn’t be more pleased.