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Australian philosopher, literary critic, and professional writer. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Why do I feel so swamped?

Why?

The answer is that I have enough material here - most of it, admittedly, in a terribly messy form - for three books (or Ph.D theses). I've started trying to wrestle enough of it into shape to produce 80,000 words of good stuff over the next few months, but an awful lot of other good stuff will have to be left out. At the moment, I'm both writing and cutting fairly furiously, bearing in mind that I have a self-appointed deadline to produce a good draft by the end of June, a final draft for submission by August/September, and a version to submit to publishers in the remainder of the year. Looks like I'll then have to survey the wreckage and work out how much I've got towards the next book - but that's getting way ahead of myself, as I don't know how successful I'll be with any parts of the above plan.

It becoming clear that I'm not going to be able - in 80,000 words - to do much more than offer some defence of my overall theory of morality, political organisation, and the law, then apply it to a rather confined set of issues related to emerging technologies. The material that ends up on the cutting room floor may actually be more interesting in some ways. Certainly, it will have some more detailed arguments about particular issues. But anything that doesn't fit the shape of the thesis will have to go somewhere else. There's certainly no way I can deal with more than a fraction of what needs to be said about the life extension issue, for example, so that will have to wait for another day.

On the positive side, now I've started this phase I feel very good about doing the actual work. I'm impatient to get it done, which will mean that I'll be frustrated a lot of the time as I have to deal about other aspects of my life, but in a way that's actually a good thing.

1 comment:

Blake Stacey said...

Good luck getting your material in order and cut down to size! It reminds me of the old joke about Michelangelo cutting away all the marble which didn't look like a statue — just chop away all the words which don't look like part of a book! ;-)

Seriously, I hope it works out well.