Book Writing Blog – Getting the fundamentals done

Hello – well the regular blog sort of fell by the wayside, but that’s partially because writing is continuing. My Excel spreadsheet is continuing to be useful and helping me measure progress – though it is perhaps worryingly showing a few chapters that are already stretching beyond their allowed length. Still – I will deal with that when I come to it.

Looking back at May, I was struggling because I was trying to write the book back-to-front. I thought that by working on the middle, explanatory chapters that take my argument and apply it to different elements of the night-time city, I’d be able to then write the opening chapters in a way that would succinctly introduce what was to come. A kind of ‘write it then introduce it’ approach.

This worked well for one chapter, but on the next one I started to struggle. I realized after a few weeks that I was trying to write without knowing what I’d introduced, without knowing what I’d said earlier – and as such without really knowing my argument. So, I’ve gone back to the fundamentals – chapters on urban theory, and on the background to the contemporary night. It’s been a lot of fun re-reading and discussing classic nocturnal work like Melbin’s Night as Frontier, and thinking about what it can offer a wider social science audience, as well as exploring some of the work by Luc Gwiazdzinski, which is excellent but little known in the Anglophone world.

The lesson I’ve taken from this is that I’ve got to understand and get the fundamentals written before I can go off and explore them, to see how they play out in different contexts!

I’m still progressing with these core chapters, which were always going to be some of my longest – and they’ll be pushing me to my 25,000th word later this week (I set a goal of 30,000 by the end of August). So, in a slightly more positive way than I felt back in May, it’s back to writing!

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