Editing and Writing Are Different

I’m in some variety of “final” editing on Manage Your Project Portfolio. I’ve reorganized the first chapter into two chapters, rewritten a bunch of things, added a new zero-sum game, and have managed to tighten up some of the writing. I’ve received great feedback from Esther, Don, and Dwayne that I’m still incorporating into my edits.

For me, the challenge in writing a book is to write it all down. I need to make sure I show why and how, and not forget the things I do that are so obvious to me but may not be to my reader. Once the book is ready for review, my initial editing challenge is to find ways to show the problems and solutions. But where I am now–close to final editing–my challenge is to not write any more words. Yes, I may have to write more words somewhere, but I have to manage the overall word count, or the book will not fit for its intended audience.

Jerry, in his writing workshops, and in Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method, taught me to cut by a third: cut a third of the words in a sentence, a third of the words in a paragraph, a third of the paragraphs, a third of the pages. I haven’t had to cut a third of the chapters–yet :-)

At the beginning of writing any piece, I allow and encourage expansion. Starting in the middle, after some initial review and towards the end, I work at trimming. (Sort of like life, right?) This looks a lot the way I used to write code too. I’m still writing when I edit, but my mindset is a little different.

For those of you who want to know when the book will be done: it depends on how much editing I finish this week, which also depends on when the hot water heater is fixed. Let’s hope the plumbers get here soon. Life is a little too challenging with no heat or hot water. I may have that story later this week.

2 Comments

  1. Check into a motel and finish your writing. Just a suggestion :-)

    Reply
  2. Good luck with it!

    Jerry’s advice reminds me a little of Zinsser, I so love his <a href=”http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Well-30th-Anniversary-Nonfiction/dp/0060891548″On Writing Well. Thanks for the pointer to _Weinberg on Writing_, I will have to check that out.

    Reply

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