On the joys of ‘finishing’ the writing of a book

23 Oct

Start-finish-lineA week ago, I hit a particularly large personal milestone in that I finally finished off the manuscript for my second book, Humans 3.0: The Upgrading of a Species. And yet, while I breathed a huge sigh of relief once I hit “send” on the email to my agent, I can’t really say I’m anywhere near “finished,” which is actually a good thing.

The manuscript now goes into what will be a long editing process. My agent is having a long look at it before we submit it to my editor at Lyons Press, and I’ve also sent it out to a few journalist friends for their thoughts and comments. I’m curious as to what they’ll think and the criticisms they’ll make, with the thoughts they return to me inevitably making the ultimate product better.

Humans 3.0 is, I think, a rather ambitious look at how exponentially advancing technology is affecting people on several levels. Many other books have explored specific aspects – I’m currently reading Clive Thompson’s new one, Smarter Than You Think, about how technology is expanding our thought processes – but I’ve instead taken a top-down macro look. I’m wondering whether technology has made the world a better place, and more importantly, whether it’s making us better people.

I won’t share any of my conclusions here yet, since I’ll inevitably modify or even rethink some of them in light of what my various early editors come back with. And then there’s the actual editor to deal with.

And therein lies the beauty of writing a book. One of the things I enjoyed most about writing Sex, Bombs and Burgers was the long editing process, where different lines of thoughts were explored, adopted or dropped before they coalesced into the final product. At the end of it, I found that I knew my work backwards, forwards, inside and out, and I was able to talk about it with confidence and authority.

That’s so rare and different from day-to-day life and writing. I often feel that much of what I write, whether it’s here on my blog or elsewhere, is merely the starting point of an idea or discussion. And because there’s always the need to produce more, there usually isn’t much time to return to a thought to develop it further.

Having done it twice now, I know that the time and effort required to write a book can be crushing. There were many times while working on Humans 3.0 that I thought, “Never again,” and I honestly can’t say at this point if I would put myself through it once more. If it’s a huge success, maybe.

For now, I’m just happy that it’s “done” and I can’t wait to get it even more “done.” And so a new journey begins…


Posted by on October 23, 2013 in books, lyons press


2 responses to “On the joys of ‘finishing’ the writing of a book

  1. Marc Venot

    October 23, 2013 at 12:21 am

    Kudo. In the same kind but toward the past, this is a presentation in French of its state of the society in 1913 (daily audio):

  2. trixxiii

    October 23, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Congratulations!!! – guess its kinda like homework? I look forward to reading Both books.

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