How I Organized The Writing of The Business of Walt Disney and the Nine Principles of His Success (Part 10)
[Other posts in this series can be found here.]
While the first part of The Business of Walt Disney and the Nine Principles of His Success is research-based and tells the business story of Walt Disney, the second part applies what is presented in Part 1 and pertains to the identification and justification of the identified Nine Principles.
Part 2 of the book consists of a series of essays about Walt’s business principles: what they are, why they are objectively valid, how he applied them, and why they are likely to work for others. The principles are backed up and supported by the observations and words of those who worked with Walt. It is in Part 2 that we hear a great deal from those who experienced these principles in action, and how they and the business of the Studio benefited from the guiding thought leadership demonstrated and adhered to by Walt Disney.
As I cut out sections in Part 1 of the book as part of the editing process, I scrutinized the content to see if what I edited out was suitable for inclusion under one of the nine principles. If so, I cut and pasted that text into the appropriate MSWord document for that principle, to be considered for inclusion in telling the story of that particular principle of success. If it was just excessive, redundant, or determined to be extraneous, I moved it to a separate “extra notes” document.
The final couple of months were occupied by writing the Nine Principles chapters. I started with Principle 1 and worked through them sequentially, converting my notes and observations into a series of essays. I used Walt’s own thinking and actions as detailed in Part 1 of the book as evidence for the justification of each principle, backed up with examples and testimony from those who worked with Walt directly and provided previously explored examples to concretize and confirm the veracity of each Principle.
Each of the Nine Principles were written and edited using the same process I used in editing the book described above. Unfortunately, I had too much great material consisting of wonderful documented personal stories from those who worked with Walt, and I had to edit out big chunks of content that was interesting but wasn’t needed as additional evidence to validate the principle at hand.
After completing the nine essays covering the Nine Principles, I was uneasy about the total length of the manuscript. I think that most readers are inclined to choose a shorter book over a longer book. The book was already too long, and I was now of the mind that I should break the book into two separate books. In the end, based on the recommendation of the publisher, I decided to keep it all as one book, but many reviewers have mentioned that the content can be seen as two separate books – a business biography of Walt Disney, and an exploration of the principles underlying his incredible success.
With the writing and editing completed, I read the manuscript a few more times, actively seeking to cut out redundant or insignificant parts of the narrative, looking for ways to shorten long sentences, ensuring continuity, scanning for factual errors, etc.
And then the day came when I read it through and made the decision that I was finished writing and editing.
Was there still more that could have been done? Yes. But an author at some point has to make the decision that what has been accomplished is what one has set out to accomplish. I had decided that the book was complete and that I had achieved all of my objectives to the best of my abilities.
In the final book, the portion that covers The Business of Walt Disney amounts to about 400 pages, and the identification and discussion the Nine Principles adds about another 140 pages.
© 2019, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.
Barry Linetsky is the author of the acclaimed book The Business of Walt Disney and the Nine Principles of His Success (Theme Park Press), and an Honorary Disney History Institute Historian. Barry is a writer, photographer, researcher, and business strategy enabler.