Well, It’s Done

Yesterday I wrote the final words in the first draft of my book. This book is one reason that I haven’t been posting recently. (That, and a series of PT exercises which eat up prime blogging time and, well – to be honest – a serious bout of languishing…)

So what is this book that has been so distracting and why am I only done with one draft after all this time?

What the Book is About

Do you happen to be a project manager or a change manager?

I’m going to guess that most of you are not.

And yet, you probably find yourself in situations where you find yourself put in charge of getting something done, something that requires people to change their behavior somehow.

What do you do when this happens? Dive in and start a list of what needs to get done? Rally the troops and fire them up?

But what then?

If you’re like most of us, you probably start off okay but quickly feel overwhelmed or daunted. Or maybe you need help getting the darn thing kicked into action. You just want to do what you have to, to get it out the door, and reap the results. And then get back to doing what you love.

If this sounds familiar, I wrote this book for you: for people who aren’t project managers or change managers and don’t have the time – or the inclination – to study project or change management.

You don’t want to learn how to do a RACI or a PERT chart or a CIA or whatever. All you want to learn are just enough tips and tricks that you can get results with this thing you’re working on, and move on.

Working title: Effective Implementations.

Or maybe Just Enough. [I’m open to title suggestions.]

The Process of Writing

I’m still pretty far away from finished. I try to make it a practice, when writing, not to re-read what I’ve written until the whole draft is done. (Otherwise, I go into editing mode, and stop writing.)

When I started this book in 2019, I made a lot of progress initially: I wrote an outline (something I don’t normally do), figured out how I wanted to approach this, and started writing. I wrote about six chapters, then realized I had put them all in the same document, which meant that I had to scroll through to get to where I left off.

Which increased the risk that I might re-read something I had already written and move into editing mode.

To reduce this risk, I started breaking the book into separate documents by chapter. But, unfortunately, as I did this, I started re-reading my draft. At the time, my day job was establishing the first PMO for an organization, and I ran into some pretty hefty resistance that caused me to question my professional sanity. It felt like everything I had written was a lie – something that happens sometimes to professionals who are writing books.

Oh, and Covid. Does it seem to you like people had one of three reactions to the pandemic lockdown:

  • Reaction 1: Deny that there is a pandemic and set about trying to maintain “normalcy” at any cost.
  • Reaction 2: Shelter in place and spend three years in pajamas, disappearing down a rabbit hole of WFH, binge streaming, YouTube, and social media.
  • Reaction 3: Shelter in place and remake your life! Start exercising, change your diet, take up a new hobby, learn new professional skills, start your own business, buy a camper-van, and work remotely from exotic places.

When I finally put my pajamas away and ventured into the light, I recognized the resistance at work for what it was, and started writing again. Working in separate chapter documents helped me maintain my discipline of not reading what I had written. And I finally finished Draft 1.

Now I can give myself permission to read what I have written. I’ve got next week off and I plan to get a good start on taking Draft 1 apart. Then I can clean it up, eliminate duplications, and fill in the gaps.

Then I’ll take one last look at it and invite a few close friends to review it.

In retrospect, I probably should have had people looking at it while I was writing the first chapters. Then I could have shifted gears before I had written the whole thing, if I needed to.

Vulnerability is a work in progress for me.

Anyhow, back to blogging again!

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