Nicole Fenton is the coauthor of Nicely Said. She designs with words.

Five Months

Kate and I officially started writing Nicely Said at the end of November. As of yesterday, we’re done. There are a few things left to do, like reading through all the chapters once they’re in layout, and marketing the book itself. But we’re finished writing and editing, which is the hardest part. Huge thanks to our early readers for making the revision process so productive!

It feels good. It feels strange. It will take me a few days to get back into the swing of full-time client work. I am exhausted. I am thrilled. We can’t wait to hear what you think. The publish date seems to be earlier now: June 16. Woohoo.

I thought it might be fun to share a few things I learned along the way. This is in the messy, stream-of-conciousness state of my brain right now:

Writing a book is a lot like a puzzle. You have to get all of the ideas and pieces of thought onto the table before you try to put them into the right order. Dani Shapiro has a similar metaphor about starting small. Figure out your basic points, find a corner, and then build it out from there.

Transitions are hard. At least for me. Kate rewrote a lot of my transitions. I’m not sure if it’s because I usually write essays and web content, or if it’s because the book has a lot of interwoven topics, but I need to work on that in the future.

Save cuts for later. You’ll have to cut things, especially things you like, but you can hold onto those ideas for something else. Maybe you write a blog post or incorporate that idea into a talk. Some things aren’t worth saving, but the revision process doesn’t have to be painful. File those snips away.

Readers love examples. Our book has one big example and lots of little ones. Whenever we shared chapters with early readers, they either raved about the examples or asked for more of ’em. If you’re trying to convey something new, tricky, or important, add MOAR examples.

I’ll post a few more things here when my brain unfries. In the meantime, I can’t wait to see you all at Confab next month. #partytimes