One Fencepost At A Time

In a recent conversation with a friend, the topic of discussion concerned how to finish a lengthy treatise on a specialized subject—chiropracty, in our case—when motivation runs low before the book is complete. In a field such as chiropracty, where physical strength and stamina play primary roles on a daily basis, full-time doctors/part-time authors often feel mentally and physically drained at the end of a workday.

Specialists such as this are frequently unable muster the inspiration needed to write even small amounts after an especially difficult workday, much less generate the energy needed to consider and complete a book-length manuscript. And it’s not for a lack of desire.

In a general sense, the same could hold true for any field of endeavor—brick laying, for instance—no matter whether the writing project is a novel, a cookbook, or a users’ manual. The ability to plant one’s backside in the chair and write is sometimes preempted by the need to recover one’s self, physically, mentally, and spiritually before attempting anything as demanding as writing.

While admiring the lush grapevines sprouting prodigiously along the fence line bordering my friend’s orange groves, I had an “aha” moment, and offered an analogy for the process of writing and completing a lengthy manuscript. An analogy that meshes very nicely with the current trend that many authors are utilizing to sell their books much more effectively—and lucratively: segmentation. Chapter-by-chapter, if you will.

In so many words, this is what I related: “If you are contemplating a major project that requires the replacement all the fence posts in your vineyard, to consider the work needed to replace the posts along the entire stretch of the vineyard’s trellises is almost overwhelming in its scope. Rather, if you only consider replacing one fencepost at a time—segmentation—then the job becomes much more manageable and much less overpowering.”

If you apply this technique to writing your manuscript, then segmentation becomes the tool for completing your project, chapter-by-chapter or section-by-section.

Easy does it: one fencepost at a time.