During my day job, I help run a program that brings academically talented students to Vanderbilt to take intense courses with university scholars (professors and PhD students), and summer is our busiest time of year. But I did manage to finish the first draft of my book proposal on June 1. I spent much of August and September working on an essay I agreed to write on Sergei Bulgakov and John Milbank. Having sent in the final edits last week, I was able to sit down with my proposal once again.
What a difference a few months make! In the past I felt like there was something about my argument that just was not working. The proposal is largely based upon my dissertation, but what I realized the other day was that I was too beholden to that behemoth. I am trying to take my dissertation argument and translate it for a wider audience. I suppose at some level I did not want to acknowledge that I would have to write a lot of my book from scratch.
The other morning I outlined what I envisioned the book trying to say. I did not consult any of my notes. I just wrote. I just got done entering those notes into Scrivener, and the result is something much clearer and probably easier that what I was working with by trying to recycle as much of my dissertation as possible.
Experience has taught me to make no more predictions about when the proposal will be submitted. I have a goal, and I am optimistic I will reach that goal. Unfortunately, I have other projects I agreed to do (a review article and a book chapter on Bulgakov and Jonathan Edwards). I am also thinking about writing a proposal for the Sophia Institute. We shall see.
The good news is that my book proposal was not just sitting in a drawer. It was aging, like a fine wine, and the result is something more potent and, hopefully, much more intoxicating.