the mechanics of authorship

In a moment of weakness about six months ago I agreed to speak at a seminar next month. My assigned topics are ones on which I am well-versed, discovery and trial in family law matters. The company presenting this even provided a basic outline to structure my talk, which I took and dramatically expanded at least a month ago. I organized a planning session among the speakers to discuss time division, etc.

So what's the problem? One little sticking point. This is an intermediate-level seminar, and the advertising for the program states that the manual accompanying the seminar will be "comprehensive."

Frankly, word processing software + me + a suggestion that I be "comprehensive" is not a formula for a happy week. Back in the day, when I worked for the Home of Hundred Drafts, I did not yet have enough life experience to understand that my obsessive perfectionism about my writing would goad me to write 93 pages of materials, 1.5 line spacing, Times New Roman font...in four days. The Document Properties section (sometimes one's own metadata can be handy) of my manuscript is showing 3337 editing minutes into the manuscript since this past Friday at 9 a.m. And that's only since the last time I renamed the document.

It occurs to me that my models of the mechanics of authorship are drawn from Russian literature. Dostoevsky dictated his work at the last minute at breakneck pace. Tolstoy drove his editors crazy by revising his work even in the galley proofs. I'm just emulating my idols.

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