Writing About Writing

I’ve taken up a new project that I hope I can complete before burning out.  It’s a book.  Not a fiction or story book, it’s an instructional guide on using a financial application.  Holy snore.

I started the document with an outline of what I wanted to instruct on.  Then, because I hadn’t used the application before, I had to figure out how to use it and how to apply it to the specific business I was targeting.  So I started writing a story about a fictional user and performing the actions in the application as the user would have.  I did a story spanning a six-month period presenting different challenges each month and explaining how to address them in the application.  That turned out to be a pretty enjoyable part of the writing.  I guess it was a fiction book after all.

But then, I had to do “the rest”.  It’s a very well-known fault of mine that I am able to work on a project by either making big brush strokes or by focusing on the detail and finishing touches.  I can’t do both.  So in this case, as is most typical of me, I’m painting huge areas of text, and now I need to go over it again and touch up here and there.

Actually, it’s more like I’m putting on multiple coats.  At this point, I’m re-running through the story, capturing screen shots and making sure the instructions are explicit and accurate, so I’m trying to read it from a end-user’s perspective.  Then, I have to fill in the actually reference part of the book, explaining each task in greater detail, without the context of the story.

Then I want to incorporate other financial perspectives from other companies, in case I didn’t think of a certain scenario.  Then I need to get it technically reviewed by a finance person to make sure what I present is correct.  Then I need to create a website to promote it and provide updates and answer questions after the release.  Then I publish it.

I certainly don’t want to get overwhelmed by the amount of work that lies in front of me, even if I do realistically have to know everything that is still to do.

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