Updated on 12.01.09

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Book Editing Edition

Trent Hamm

Right now, I’m deeply involved with the editing process for my upcoming second book.

My first book was fairly easy to edit. Since it was mostly a list of ways to live cheap, the edits were either “does this way to live cheap fit in the book?” or grammatical choices.

This time around, though, the editing is much more intense – and more challenging. So far, the prologue has become the first chapter and the original first chapter has been splintered into bits and moved throughout the book. And we’re through two chapters so far.

The whole process has been fascinating. Mostly, it’s just a matter of taking the ideas and points (and much of the writing) I had earlier and streamlining them a bit. It’s really useful to have lots of sets of eyes looking at the book, as it improves the content.

Anyway, here are some interesting links from the past week.

Focus On What You can Control, Let Go Of What You Don’t I think this is a fundamental tenet of personal finance. We can control our own behavior, but we can’t control what others do. We can’t predict the future or avoid some of the things that might come our way, but we can create security against those situations. (@ dumb little man)

5 Tips for Easy college Savings With two young ones at home and a third one on the way, these are the exact kind of tips I’m looking for. (@ wise bread)

2009 Gift Giving Guide: Gifts to people you don’t know This is something I struggle with – gifts for people I don’t know well but am obligated to give a gift to (because of a gift exchange or the like). This is perhaps the best set of advice I’ve read for such a situation. (@ unclutterer)

How to Want Very Little I think that excessive wanting is something that gets all of us into personal finance trouble – and in personal trouble. The advice here is thoughtful and well-considered. (@ zen habits)

One Example of Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck The specifics of this story read like the life I had just a few years ago. I am so glad I chose to go in a different direction. (@ free money finance)

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  1. guinness416 says:

    That unclutterer post was confusing (or maybe I’m just more easily confused than usual this morning). Is she recommending charitable donations as an appropriate gift for people who you don’t know well, or recommending charitable donations as a gift to someone – the recipient of the charity – that you literally don’t know?

    While I’m all for stepping up donations over xmas I personally think giving to charity “in someone’s name” is a bit presumptuous as a holiday present (and can come off as very holier-than-thou if you don’t approach it well). Doubly so if it’s someone you don’t know well enough to know if they support the particular group. Give in your own name and get someone a more thoughtful gift, even if you’re at the begrudging “well they got me one” stage.

  2. Jen says:

    Hee hee…nothing improves one’s writing skills as much as a strict editor! :-)

  3. Ellen says:

    I’m with guinness416 on the gifting/contributing issue. People at gift exchanges expect to actually get a gift, and usually there’s a relatively low limit. I think that telling someone a contribution has been made to someone else detracts from the spirit of making that contribution as well as from the spirit of giving someone a gift.

    My solution is to find something from a local crafter or local charity fund-raiser sale (church bazaars, craft centers run by the disabled or local charity, etc.) or make one of my specialty food gifts & package it in a decent container to keep. If I decide to make a generous contribution to a charity by cutting back on gifts to others, that’s personal & not advertised by announcements to everyone on my (former) gift list.

    The zenhabits post on how to want very little is a new perspective that I’m going to work on!

  4. mo says:

    stop saying deeply

  5. thisisbeth says:

    I think charitable donations done in someone else’s name can be tricky. They’re great if you know the person, and you know they believe in the cause. You might end up giving a gift that goes against that person’s beliefs. If you don’t know the person that well, you really won’t know what particular charity they would wish to support.

  6. Eve says:

    The unclutterer article is *not* advice for gift exchanges where you’re obligated to give a gift to someone you don’t know well. So, it is unclear how it could be perhaps the best set of advice you’ve read for such a situation.

    The article is about giving “without knowing who will benefit from your generosity.” The article briefly mentions past advice about giving to charity in someone’s honor, then says that this year’s advice will “focus on giving in a different way” — not donating in someone’s honor, but donating to a person in need, whom you don’t know.

  7. Cade says:

    Good luck on your new book, Trent. You are a gifted writer with solid awareness and exceptional insight. You present information that is important, and you give us the steps to readily apply it in our own lives. I look forward to the publication of this new project. I hope you make a million dollars. Think how much you have helped all of us save these past few years. You deserve much financial success.

  8. Ellen says:

    Eve – #6 – great insight & distinction! Thank you! Now the unclutterer article makes more sense.

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