Are You Doing A Writing Post-Mortem?: Steven Savage

As a Project Manager one of the big things for every project is a post-mortem.  Maybe you call it a post-launch discussion, project analysis, or something else if you want a less morbid title.  Whatever name you use, almost every PM, like myself, spends some time after a project asking “what did we learn from all of this?”

Having recently launched my latest book, “Focused Fandom: Cosplay, Costuming, and Careers“, I’m conducting a post-mortem on the book and book launch.  I wanted to share a few insights about the value of such an activity:

It acknowledges completion: Book is out, fine, done, etc.  A good post-mortem gives you closure.

It lets you shift mindsets:  Now that the project is done, a post-mortem lets you shift to a learning mindset.  It might even be more relaxing than those last few days/weeks of publishing.

It encourages you to think of what went right and wrong–at the best time:  When the flurry of publishing is over, when the last PDF is uploaded, it’s time to encourage yourself to learn from the experience.  A distinct post-mortem lets you do that, and do it in a time where you’re probably saner (or at least burnt out enough to be calm).

It encourages a technical approach: Sitting back and asking what went right and wrong, analyzing it, etc. helps you improve.  It might seem  bit uncreative to some, but to me it’s very inspiring – by taking apart what I did technically, I see whole new possibilities or things that went well.

It helps you learn:  Setting aside time to look back over the creation process of your book allows the lessons learned to work their way into your mind more easily.  You probably learned a lot from the writing, but in the hectic-craziness of creation, you don’t always know what you learned.

It prepares you for the next step: There’s always another book coming, more marketing, etc.  Having shifted perspectives and learned your lessons, you’re ready for the next challenge.

Be it a book or a complex piece of software, a good post-mortem is a great way to learn from your recent activities.  I just wish there was a less morbid, equally popular name for it…

Steven Savage, ProGeek

Steven Savage, ProGeek

Steven Savage, self-described “professional geek”, is the main blogger of the Fan To Pro blog, writer (Fan To Pro, and Convention Career Connection), runs a newsletter on geeky trends, and is the mind behind the popular Seventh Sanctum site. You can find out more about him at his web site, or contact him at:

A jpg showing Steven Savage's email address.


2 responses to “Are You Doing A Writing Post-Mortem?: Steven Savage

  1. Ileandra Young

    November 4, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    I quite like the name actually! And I might give it a go after my NaNo. I think it would really help me.:-)


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