As the last post indicated, that was the final chunk of the Prayer Book Spirituality Project to be written. Late last night I got all of the pieces assembled and sent off to the good folks at Forward Movement. They’re glad to have it; I’m glad to be done with it for a while!
At points here people have suggested things that really needed to be added. Some of these I did add, others I’m on the fence about, others I said, “No, I really don’t have time or space to treat that…” Can I just tell you how hard that last response is for me to give?
As any project manager will tell you, one of the hardest impulses to reign in is “scope creep.” That’s the urge to add that one extra little feature…and the next one…and the next… Part of the discipline of a work like this—intended primarily as an introductory book for laity—is resisting the temptations to chase wild rabbits and, as most regular readers know, that’s really hard for me!
And, I must confess, even with the amount of saying no that I did, my resolve wasn’t quite as firm as it could have been… I originally pitched a paperback book that was about one hundred book pages (not MS Word pages, mind you). Your average regular book-shelf sized book page has roughly 350 words on it. The final tally for this stage was 82,222 words. If you do the math that’s right about 235 pages… Whoops!
As has been noted by Susan and others, though, I am not by nature a concise writer; there’s no telling how many words of solid content that actually represents! Oh well—we’ll see what the count is when the editors get done with it.
At the end, you just have to let it go – even when you’d really like to tweak, adjust, emend, and “make it better.” (AKA, yes: “scope creep”!)
(And, BTW: thanks for letting us share in the project. It was really fun reading along and commenting and discussing it….)
Thanks for joining in! I think it’s a better work because of all of the input.
I think “scope creep” is what happened to NT Wright as well, and he ended up writing the single largest book on Paul ever written in Christian history. Something to aim for…
I’m guessing the editors will cut about a quarter of the book. That will sharpen the focus. When you get it back you’ll be able to see the scope creep more clearly, and you can cut it. I think the creep makes it less accessible to the laity. I’ve enjoyed reading what you’ve written, even if I couldn’t understand all of it. Congratulations on finishing the first draft!