Monthly Archives: December 2009

Best laid plans of mice and men.. and writers

Been wondering why this blog has gone so quite for so long? Well its because we went quiet.  Andrew Major took a new job in the south bay and had to back off from co-Authoring the book. (Still hoping to at least get one chapter out of him) :)  Still, this was a major blow to the project forcing a bit of a reset.  Second, the guys at Twitter went nuts with changes and a slew of new API calls, basically throwing the project into a form of higgy-piggy.  Pretty sure that is a technical term.  However, its post Xmas and using my holiday time, I’m settling in to do a major push on this project.  Hour 3 is complete and in the bag, but as expected, the first chapter is always the hardest.  And when you are writing in your spare time, its REALLY hard to keep focus.  Worse, I took a permanent position at my current job and have been pretty excited about the new efforts coming up this year, so even more distraction. Despite all this, Hour3 was completed and just this month, Hour 2 (Twitter out of the Box) and Jon’s Hour9 (creating a development environment) is under review.  Andrew Stone, of Twitterlator fame has written a really nice draft on developing a Twitter mobile app, and a few others are starting to step up and create drafts.  Right now I’m starting on Hour13 creating a Twitter Class.  Finally getting to actual code. I’m hopeful that once we get a few chapters in the bag, it will become easier and easier to write. In addition, others who want to contribute to the project will have example chapters they can pull from.  If there are people out there that would like to contribute to this project, please let me know.

..Now, what I have learned about writing a technical book so far..

I think the greatest learning moment for me about this is writing a book sucks. When I was at UC Berkeley, I would write papers, wrote a Masters Thesis and then a Dissertation.  I never enjoyed writing, but it was something I could do once I sat down and applied myself.  Writing in your spare time is quite another thing. Add to that, some exciting things coming up this year in my current job and mind share goes down even further. So how does one address this?  Again, this is for me, I have to spend a weekend working on the book.  Not the whole weekend mind you, but an hour here and there from Friday to Sunday. I’ve found that you cannot simply sit down and bang it out. You need to think about what you are going to write, get your head into that mindspace. Some people can turn that off and on, I need to ease into it. So Sunday seems to be the most productive day, because I spend a bit of Friday and Sat thinking and researching what I’m going to write. Course, if you have one of those careers where once you leave work, you really leave it, then perhaps taking up writing might be a good idea… might be.