The two hardest parts of writing a book for me has been project design and the daily starting line. The design for the book’s research question was a fraught process that took nearly two years of graduate school. It is in this aspect that I think the Sciences have a leg-up on the Humanities in that they are explicit about the intentionality of scope.
But this post is not about the woes of graduate education or the difficulty of getting started. I mention these two as the most difficult because they seem unavoidable. I cultivate morning routines, budget and set aside specific times to write, and make it a priority, but its inherent difficulty always proves a psychological impediment to launch, even if a small one. No, this post is about how to do yourself favors along the way of the writing process. Or really, how to do yourself one particular kind of favor.
Back in early 2018, I composed a series of blog posts about researching the publishing process, targeting series, oft-circulated myths, and, in five parts, how to fund it. I am now two-thirds through my own revision process before final submission, having just finished those elements for which content existed. The introduction and afterword remain. It seemed an appropriate moment to reflect on what exactly the revision process looks like—a nuts-and-bolts query I have found it difficult to pin down those who do have books about.
In the vein of my previous reflection on the first-book process, in this post I write on the tactics that have made up my repertoire of revising my thesis into a book: to collate, section, and cut-and-paste; to polish page-by-page; to rely on surefooted tools Scrivener and Zotero; and to track. Of course everyone’s processes are different, and different kinds of projects also necessitate unique approaches.
For me, in the heat of it, revising is an act of dismembering and remembering.