My ugly drafts are really, really ugly :)
It'll sound awful, but I have never intentionally written a book or long article. Often, there will be a topic I'm deeply invested in learning more about or writing about and I'll just try to consistently take time out every day to build on the draft.
With the first draft of the patterns book, I wanted to write an article about the topic so I started there and it just grew. I would stay up late and keep writing into the early hours of the morning each day during that week. The first draft wasn't very long - it may have been 60 pages of content.
However, the very early versions are not something I would have felt confident sharing with anyone. There were many parts with half-complete thoughts. It lacked a lot of structure. Many of these are things you have a better chance at getting right when spending 9-12 months on your first draft. I ended up spending that long on rewrites.
Apropos of books and long articles, thank you a lot for Images.guide. It was illuminating and also very useful to make clients understand that re-inventing image resizing each time is usually not the best move :D
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