A couple of weeks ago I took part in a “book sprint” for a new field guide to visual facilitation. If you’re wondering what a book sprint is, you’re not alone. Before taking part in one I couldn’t comprehend how 30+ authors from around the world were going to write and edit a book in 3 days, but we did … mostly. Here is a major action shot of what book sprinting looks like:
Doesn’t look like much is going on to be sure, but there was a lot of mental sprinting happening as we edited draft chapters from people all over the world over the course of three days. While a group of us met in San Francisco, additional book sprint groups were meeting in person in Asia and Denmark during the same period, and many others who couldn’t attend in person sprinted from home. Prior to the sprint days, each of us drafted a chapter on a topic we’d agreed on with our trusted book sprint leaders, editors and cajolers, Rachel Smith, Jeroen Blijsie, Mary Alice Arthur and Tim Hamons. My chapter is on best practices for visual meeting start-ups, by the way.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the entire experience was more rewarding than I anticipated. The benefits were:
- Getting immediate feedback on my own writing and being able to refine and make progress right away (without procrastinating)
- Learning from others in the field by reading about their area of expertise as a visual facilitator
- Building new relationships through editing. There’s something so personal about commenting on someone’s writing that opens a door to forming or deepening a relationship
- A deeper appreciation for my colleagues. I’ve known and worked with many of these folks for years, but reading their thoughtful chapters gave me a new appreciation for their wisdom and expertise
- A sense of shared contribution to a book that will be useful to new and experienced visual facilitators
The dozens of book chapters are now in the hands of the sprint leaders and still must be copyedited and molded into good design shape. I can’t wait to see what the final book is like. In the meantime, I’m basking in the book sprint glow.