I wonder what it would feel like to write a book every year or two

Because the way I do it sure takes forever. The good news is that I’ve more or less finished my revisions. It felt nice to upload the revised conclusion today. My RA has the manuscript, then I’ll go over her changes and send the thing back to Duke in a couple weeks. At that point, I’ll celebrate even though there are many more steps toward publication.

I am of course looking over the book’s should to the next thing. I’ve started interviewing people for this signal processing project I have (which has already yielded a series of essays). Will it be a book? Too early to tell. I’ve also got a bunch of other ideas, and will spend the rest of the sabbatical exploring. Many of my more prolific teachers seemed to know what the next book was as they were finishing one. Me, I seem to need to wander in the wilderness a little, write a few essay and see what sticks with me. It’s like “pilot studies” that social scientists do. I will say that with essays, the satisfaction of finishing comes much faster and more often. I seem to be able to churn them out without much trouble. But it’s not as sweet.

As I’m hanging out with social scientists this year, the conversation sometimes turns to articles vs. books. They each have their trials. It is true that word-for-word articles are scrutinized more by reviewers. But I feel like I scrutinize my books more, and I also go to more extremes in seeking out criticism and trying out ideas in public before publishing them. Maybe I’ve made the form too precious. This one was supposed to be short (it is, after a great deal of editorial effort, shorter than the Audible Past). Perhaps I will need to try again.