Back when I was working on my first book, I took copious notes all day, and then came home, fired up the mighty 386 (an archaic computer, children, which ran at about 5% of the processor speed of my inexpensive MacBook), and wrote for an hour or two about what was on my mind. In the end, when it came time to write the book, I found myself lifting a lot of the analytical material directly from those immediate musings. The language was more raw and honest, it expressed the sense of surprise I still felt at the end of that day's observations, and with a little tweaking, the wordcraft was good.
I'm on vacation for a week, sitting in a little house in Middletown Springs VT and working on Nonfiction Architecture. And I've found myself back in that happy place of having usable material already created from the blogs. I finished much of the introductory chapter yesterday, and maybe 10% of it or so was recast directly from blog material. But it's not just numerical proportion that matters. Clearly, what I've been writing about in the blog are ideas that I care about, the things that will be at the center of the larger argument. So even though the words that I'm moving over are a small percentage of the total, they act as the diamonds around which I now get to build the settings. (Okay, so maybe "diamonds" sounds a little self-assured, but you get my drift...) And those settings will be primarily made up of the sequencing of ideas, and the research that supports them.
I sometimes forget how fun this is to do. As they used to say in Peace Corps recruitment ads, it's the toughest job you'll ever love.