When a Book Is Finished…


(Note: This post by Ed Wilson originally appeared on the Microsoft Press Blog.)

I finished writing my Windows PowerShell Best Practices book for Microsoft Press. I do not have all of the statistics available (number of words, number of figures, number of scripts and those type of numbers) but one value stands out clearly in my mind—one year. The Windows PowerShell Best Practices book has taken one full year (actually closer to 1 year and two weeks … but who is really counting) to write. I still have the re-writes to do, and I still have the appendix and the front matter to complete, but for all intents and purposes the book is finished.

After having worked on nearly two dozen book projects, the end of a book project is nearly always the same—what do I do now? For an entire year, every single weekend has been consumed with working on the book. During the week in the evenings, I have chipped away at the book; little by little, bit by bit, sentence by sentence; until I arrive at the day when there is nothing left to write.

Some might think it is a time to go out for a celebration; take Teresa out to eat, maybe take in a show; but book completion is not really that type of event. The book is finished, but in some strange sort of way, a constant companion has left. For an entire year, I knew what I would be doing every evening, and every weekend—I was working on a book. With that book finished, I am now adrift without direction. The search begins for new project.

Because I write to a very tight schedule, this weekend did not sneak up on me, and I am not left completely without direction. For example, I am going to study for the new Microsoft Certification Exams that are being released for Windows 7, and for Windows Server 2008 R2. That will be a fun project. I am also going to do some wood working, and will therefore spend a little time taking a class, and building a couple of small items in my wood working shop. I will spend some more time swimming and running because in the last two months I have been derailed from my goals in that arena, but what do I do for this specific weekend?

As it turns out, I spent it reading. Teresa and I went to the public library, brought home a huge stack of books (not one of the books were about computers), and we sat in the living room and read the entire weekend. I read 5 books. In the end, the best way to celebrate finishing my book was to enjoy the efforts of other authors who had reached the completion stage of their book project as well. 


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