Sunday, November 16, 2008

Writing My First Book Update

I thought that I'd take a moment this Sunday morning to share my progress on the textbook I am helping to write.

A lot of people want to write a book, so I thought perhaps this might be of interest. Emphasis on might.

The book is an undergraduate textbook on research methods in advertising and public relations.

My real life continues to get in the way, so I am quite a bit behind schedule. I worked on the book for about 7 hours yesterday. The project of the day was a riveting chapter on data tabulation.

If it were simply a matter of sitting down and writing, it would be one thing. But data tabulation, as one might imagine, involves tables. So most of the day was spent making tables. Seven tables and one figure.

I could have simply made up data. However, being a scientist, hypothetical data is an allergen. So I found a national dataset and spent much of the day mining through the codebook for examples that have at least a chance of being relevant to advertising and public relations students.

As a side note, I have a newfound respect for all examples in textbooks.

Once I found a suitable example, the data were analyzed in statistical program SPSS, and then I could make the tables.

Today will represent another 8 hours on the project. I'll spend an additional hour or so on data tabulation, and then it is on to the fascinating world of quasi-experiments.

In many ways, the work is quite rewarding. In other ways, it is quite frustrating. This type of writing is unlike my journalism training, and it is vastly different from the scientific writing that takes much of my time these days.

And I am writing a little bit more than a quarter of the textbook. This will be a little bit of a rush in a quarter of a year. Thus, the entire thing would have been a rush in a year.

This gives me even more respect for those who can produce quality works far more quickly, including a colleague at Texas Tech.

I'm thankful to have the experience. I've always wanted to write a book. As a child, I'd sit around my parents' advertising agency fabricating books. Long before the days of desktop publishing, I was fascinated by the blank books you could buy at a bookstore. So much waiting to be said.

So I'm glad to know just how much work really goes into it.

This would be a lot more fun if I were writing about an area of research about which I care intensely. Instead, this is serving a need. And as with all things, satisfying wants is more fun thatnneeds.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no doubt that someday you WILL write your OWN book.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Samuel D. Bradley said...

Indeed ... Tales of a nervous breakdown by Samuel D. Bradley.

Just kidding.

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe "How to Be a True Bastard in Ten Easy Steps" by Samuel D. Bradley

9:41 PM  

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