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. I’d been too busy with Autumn Splendor to give it much thought, so I hadn’t made any progress.
But aha! I went on vacation, and suddenly I have idle time, perfect for percolating ideas. (Even with the time zone difference, I get up two hours before anyone else does, so that gives me plenty of time to contemplate.) 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. 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. 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. (Which is not to say that it hasn’t been, but I haven’t seen it.) 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. (What can I say? When the Muse hits, she hits, and I type fast. 🙂 )
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. 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. 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.