I spent much of January writing my final case study on which Field Guide #1 in my curriculum project is based. I also got all the completed chapters and other pieces lined up, and figured out what’s left to do. The really good news is that it looks to be 95% done! Here’s what’s left to produce, with finalizing the text after that:
- 1 chapter to write part of, then 7 chapters to edit for consistency with the rest of the book.
- 2 interviews to conduct and transcribe. (I’m keeping the names under wraps for now, but these individuals are very insightful on dealing with systemic abuse and recovery.)
- 4 short case studies to write (3 movies, 1 historical), and 3 more to edit.
- Finalize the list of add-on items: posters, worksheets, trading cards with the concepts and illustrations, etc.
I’m very thankful to be almost done, and for the prayers, encouragement, and support of friends along the way!
Starting February 2nd, I will be completing a grant proposal for a client, then I’ll be back at it with Field Guide #1 as soon as I can to finish it. After it’s done, I’ll likely be taking an extended break from social media and blogging on any new topics, as I arrange for next steps in publishing of Field Guide #1, update the companion website [Futuristguy’s Field Guides] with detailed tables of contents and additional resource bibliographies, and launch into Field Guide #2.
And if you’re interested in an overview of what what the curriculum looks, now that it’s been readjusted, see below. Continue reading
** WHOA ~ REALLY BIG NEWS! **
It’s a good thing that I’ve gotten as many “dominoes” as possible lined up toward all the pre-publication stuff on my 7-volume Field Guide Series. Because, a couple days ago … Continue reading
Some of my friends are interested in the process of putting a book together. So, periodically, I post details involved in the most current stage of getting my curriculum series edited and ready for eventual publication. And there’s been a bit of news lately, so here it is.
Shifting From Publisher to Self-Publishing
It’s been four weeks since I found out the conventional publisher I’d hoped would be a match didn’t feel my curriculum series fit with their line. That was disappointing, but I knew it was a doorway to the next set of options to investigate: self-publishing.
What writing a book proposal for a publisher does in helping authors refine their content, the self-publishing prep process does in helping refine all the other details that a publisher would normally take care of. So, after working all month with a company that specializes in helping authors self-publish, now I have a final checklist of what has to be done to get the first volume actually available for sale! It’s a lot of administrative details, many of which I could do for myself, but just because I could do them doesn’t mean I should. Writers often miss identifying their mistakes when it comes to editing and proofreading. And many of us are horrible layout designers. For me, it’s also an issue of best stewardship for very limited energy. So, will just have to wait until the time comes and see what unfolds for hiring outside help from that company to complete those tasks.
Writing a book proposal is a monumental project — but definitely helpful for clarifying one’s thinking about the content, reviewing and perhaps revising who you have in mind as your target audience(s), and polishing your strategy for how to raise awareness of the book once it gets published. You typically also have to provide information on your academic and/or experiential qualifications to write on the subject matter, write an summary for each chapter, and present a literature review that details how your book differs from others already in the marketplace. Oh, and submit one or more sample chapters — however many the publisher requires.
Like I said, these are a lot of work. But worth it. I’ve been putting together proposal packages since the mid-1980s and have worked on at least 30 book proposals (most for other people), a dozen grant proposals, and a dozen or so project proposals. The skills you learn by doing these are immensely useful for developing organizational systems, as you have to apply skills in critical thinking, and customizing the content to fit the cultural or demographic context. Continue reading
One of the more difficult things I’ve had to deal with regularly in putting together a book is when I sense I should write up something that feels at the time like it’s just a distraction. A blog article on some seemingly irrelevant topic. A comment on a friend’s Facebook post. And, perhaps most angst-producing of all, a full-blown case study or resource bibliography on a situation of spiritual abuse.
These may take anything from a few minutes to many days of work. They seem to delay the finishing of my field guide project – or worse, leads down what seems like a rabbit trail that creates (yet another) false start or extends the end of when I can get this project finished. The kicker is, they often end up being the source for easy extraction of a relatively polished piece for the book. In terms that social scientists, computer coders, and other professionals use, these case studies turn out to be my “proof of concept.” That means they show that the ideas I’m working with are relevant, and work in at least a relatively small-scale situation. Who knew … And I hope I’m not fooling myself here, but I do trust that maybe in retrospect it’ll be more clear how the Spirit may actually have been leading me in this, all the way along.
Anyway, I do sense that the era of such seeming distractions for this book is over, and it’s time for one last push to get over the finish line, hopefully by mid-July. More on that goal and timeline recalibration in Part 2 of my update. Meanwhile, I thought I’d share three last pieces of content development that have come out of those unexpected articles and comments and case studies from March and April. They’re important pieces of the puzzle, and the natural extension of the work I did in putting together sets of 15 indicators of trustworthy versus toxic organizations.
- Some experiments with definitions and descriptions for the term “spiritual abuse.”
- Four categories for evaluating leadership qualifications and disqualifications.
- “The Grid of Background Factors” – and how spiritual abuse isn’t found only in one kind of theology.
These are all crucial elements in book #1 in my multi-book series on how to “Do Good Plus Do No Harm.” The first book is a Field Guide that overviews practical concepts, applications, and early-warning indicators for deconstructing systems that damage (which looks at how and why things go wrong when we want to do what’s right, how to repair damage if it happens), and setting up spaces that empower gives a comprehensive approach for enterprise start-ups and organizational renovations with work environments that are trustworthy instead of toxic. And now, the three elements … Continue reading
With the development of the three items I shared in Part 1 of my update, I’ve come to a natural stopping point to evaluate what’s next. And after a few days of praying about it, and discussions with several close friends, here’s what I’ve concluded: I need to try for one last push to get this first book project over the finish line by mid-July.
I started editing the series in January 2009, and would greatly appreciate prayer for getting this first book done! The material is relevant to real-world spiritual abuse problems that people keep asking me about, and I’m able to articulate answers better and more quickly these days. My revised outline is in very good shape, and I have about half of the chapters/articles done. I have a stack of other bits and pieces on the concepts and film studies, ready to type up, paste together, and polish into the final draft.
Also, the timing feels crucial. I have one priority client I’m editing for periodically right now. I’ve worked with her on many world-changing projects over the past 10 years, and she needs to wrap up her current projects by mid-July. I’ll have large gaps in between periods of editing for her, so I can work on my project. Also, I have no other projects scheduled until later this summer. And, I know from experience that the hotter the weather gets, the lower my ability to concentrate and my stamina to write for long hours.
So, this two-month time frame seems optimal. I really could get done in July if it’s possible to keep going now. It’s always way harder to restart after a long stall than it is to keep rolling. But my main problem is that I don’t have the finances to get through this period. In fact, I’ve used up my financial reserves and am quickly getting behind. I am reposting the GoFundMe link to the fund-raising campaign that Dee Parsons and Deb Martin at The Wartburg Watch and Julie Anne Smith at Spiritual Sounding Board graciously started for me in November 2015. That helped immensely by raising enough for a couple months toward finishing the project. If you are led to give, great. If not, no worries. But I would definitely appreciate prayer for this one last push …
GoFundMe link for “Do Good and Do No Harm”: https://www.gofundme.com/an8jtj7p
Or, if you prefer, there’s a PayPal button at the top of the right-hand navigation bar on this blog.
Thanks — Brad
Today and this weekend, I’ll be able to spend quite a bit of time working on my book project, Do Good Plus Do No Harm. I’ve already gotten most of the bits and pieces of text sorted into the appropriate main folders (18 chapters), and created the “stem” file to compile all the material into order within that chapter.
Next, I have to go through all the subfolders (usually 5 to 8 per chapter) to mesh all the bits and pieces of information in those, and put the results into the stem file.
Then I’ll list the articles in each stem file so I have a reference table of contents ready for when I start shifting articles around.
Then, edit the stem files.
Then sort out the individual articles into the four major compartments:
- FIELD GUIDE (short articles on essential topics, with many art illustrations.
- INDICATORS (how-to’s for measuring what matters for trustworthy versus toxic leaders and organizations).
- WORKBOOK (case studies, media studies, simulation games).
- RESOURCES (longer articles and descriptions for those who want more information).
Then, carefully catalog the numbers and titles of the 250 to 300 art illustrations I’ll need to license.
Then, carefully catalog the titles of 200-250 films, and 150-200 books I reference.
And then, voila! Just about done!
At this stage with such a complex project, a lot of “writing” actually turns out to be file management and digital glue. Who knew?
I don’t expect to be able to get this all done in one weekend, but maybe in one month. We’ll see. But regardless, this means I’m *many* steps closer to the finish line!
Hip-hip-hooray and hallelujah! And now, time for a break and an inspirational chit-chat with Mr Coffee …