See the ball, hit the ball


DIAMONDS FROM THE DUGOUT was 8 or 9 years in the making, and maybe the most important step in turning it into a coast-to-coast reality was the organizational breakthrough. For anyone producing a book, I hope this visual will help you "see the ball, hit the ball."

Lisa and Rachel deserve even more thanks than I offered in the Acknowledgements, simply for putting up with this takeover of our dining room sliding glass door for late winter and early spring in 2017. I had all these remarkable stories from baseball legends, and the life lessons within them is what really made a difference as a motivational/baseball book. But what to DO with them before submitting the final manuscript?

Using post-it notes spread out at eye level was the answer. I began arranging column headers that would serve as chapters, each representing a different category of similar lessons or character traits. Over days and weeks, I would move one post-it to a different column, or in some cases toss them as undeserving of the final cut. Being able to "see" the book this way, I could then re-order chapters, rename them, and get to a point where it felt done.

No matter what project you are working on, sometimes you have to look at it in a whole different way -- whether that's a whole wall in your basement, a big whiteboard and marker, a spreadsheet, or the front of your kitchen fridge. I had to get it out of digital form and into something more visual and tangible. For my family, the best part of all was the day when I finally removed all the post-its that covered that siding glass door, so they could see our deck and backyard and birds again as I saw my new book. Mission accomplished.