Thursday, July 21, 2005

Diary of Writing a Book on Adam Smith

I have been commissioned to write a volume for the new Palgrave “Great Thinkers in Economics” series and though the series is focussed on economists of the 20th century (Marshall, Hicks, Robinson, Samuelson, Arrow, Stigler and such like) two exceptions have been made in the persons of Adam Smith and David Ricardo. There will be 23 volumes in all. My volume is the one on Adam Smith.

What I shall call my “Smith 2” projectI began working on this month. It might be an interesting exercise to keep a diary to record the off-page work that goes into producing a book of this sort.

The diary is partly for my own satisfaction – writing can get stressful, with highs and lows, joys, disappointments and exhilaration, and sharing them with you might help me – and partly I shall keep a diary because it might help other writers cope with their projects.

I have no idea if my diary will “work” for me, let alone my readers (if I have any left over the two years it will take). I have no idea what I will write about or how regularly I will write about anything. It may arrive still-born; it may be aborted as a project (the diary, not, I hope, Smith II). Hopefully, it will be completed as the manuscript goes off to Palgrave sometime in early 2007.

Well, that at least is the plan, my “best laid scheme”, hopefully not sharing the fate of the hubris of mice and men that Burns noted in his famous poem.


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