Days 22–28: The Onion Principle

Growth is good but makes growing pains inevitable

P. Venkat Raman
3 min readSep 25, 2022
Cross-section of an onion showing the bulge in the middle
Photo by K8 on Unsplash

This is a post in the series that started here.

Last week, on Day 21, we enjoyed the milestone of Shitty First Draft, as Anne Lamott put it. I gave myself a single-minded goal of coming up with the GSD this week: The Good Second Draft.

When I started to take a look, clean up, and restructure the contents from the first draft, something became painfully obvious.

It had holes in thought development. Big holes.

But the good news is that the structure became clear. Once the meat is introduced into this structure with appropriate content, the book should be good to go.

Once, a long time ago, I was struggling with a project that was ballooning in complexity and work to do. My boss patiently explained to me something new to assuage my concerns.

The onion principle

You may think of the popular notion of life and many aspects of life exhibiting characteristics of an onion where you peel back layers to reveal others until you get to the core.

But this was different.

It has to do with the shape of the onion that increases in girth as you go from one tip to the other, only to gracefully shrink back to a much smaller girth.

My boss was finding an analogy between the shape of onion and any project you undertake.

Any worthwhile project you take up expands in scope initially until you start to figure things out and rein in the scope to the right level.

With my book project, I feel I started at the top of the onion in the picture above and have come down a third of the way. There is still some expansion on the cards, but things should fall into place soon.

I do feel I have a second draft that is good; on the way to being better.

I learned a few things along the way this week.

Choice of tool — Scrivener instead of Designrr



P. Venkat Raman

A tortoise among internet marketing hares. Slowly inching toward the goal.