If you haven’t heard much about the book recently, it’s because I’ve been stuck on it: I hadn’t figured out what I wanted to write, or my audience, and I’ve never been good at just putting things down without knowing who I’m writing for or where I’m going. Â I’d been too busy with Autumn Splendor to give it much thought, so I hadn’t made any progress.
But aha! Â I went on vacation, and suddenly I have idle time, perfect for percolating ideas. Â (Even with the time zone difference, I get up two hours before anyone else does, so that gives me plenty of time to contemplate.) Â I finally got myself un-stuck yesterday, and in a burst of excitement have already written the outline for the entire book and rough drafts of the first two chapters. Â They will need a lot of editing and expansion, but the core is there.
The working title for the book (which will undoubtedly change before publication) is How to Learn: Achieving Mastery Faster, and the main focus will be on ways to think and work in order to learn a craft more efficiently. Â This is a sufficiently generic topic to have broad appeal, and is something I think will be useful to readers and which I have not seen published before. Â (Which is not to say that it hasn’t been, but I haven’t seen it.) Â More to the point, it’s something I can write and would enjoy writing – which is good, since one of my primary theses is to do the things you love!
The eleven chapter titles I’ve come up with are:
- Why Are You Doing This?
- Focus on Learning, not Product
- Developing Skills
- Learning to Think
- The Learning Cycle
- Pick an (Ambitious) Project
- Do the Project
- When You Run into Trouble: The Art of Problem-Solving
- Retrospect on the Project
- Rinse and Repeat
- Final Thoughts
I’ve written backbones for the first two chapters – only about a thousand words apiece, so they will need substantial expansion and elaboration (not to mention revision!) – but not at all bad for three hours’ work in the wee hours of the morning. Â (What can I say? Â When the Muse hits, she hits, and I type fast. Â 🙂 )
I’m totally jazzed about this structure, and think the book will take shape very quickly, now that I know what I’m saying and who I’m saying it to. Â I’m hoping to get backbones for at least seven or eight chapters (or expanded versions of the first few) by the time I get home. Â I don’t expect to do any work during the day (the main point of this trip is to see relatives, after all), but I’ll have a couple hours every morning and a four-hour plane flight in which to write, and I think the time will prove productive.