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26 Oct 2010, 18:28
Susannah Davidson Pfalzer (114 posts)

November 1, we’ll be kicking off PragProWriMo, our counterpart to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The idea is to spend the month of November writing a book, just as thousands of other writers are doing that month. Set a goal of writing 60 pages, write every day, and post your progress on this forum.

We’ll have writing tips, advice, and support here. Come here to discuss your progress, post your weekly word count, and share your success and frustrations.

With all the support you’ll have during this month, there’s no better time to start writing!

27 Oct 2010, 17:20
Cliff McCollum (1 post)

What a terrific idea! I was a NaNoWriMo winner last year and was getting all geared up to do it again this year. However, you’ve inspired me to spend November focusing on another book I’ve been working on. I started it at months ago, but it’s been languishing for the last little while. I’m going to use November to start pulling some of the content together, building a table-of-contents and figuring out what I’m missing and fleshing out the bits I still need.

Thanks for the great idea!

27 Oct 2010, 19:16
Brian Tarbox (41 posts)

I participated in PragProWriMo last year but only lasted about week. I realized a didn’t have a clear idea about which book I actually wanted to write…so it was hard to write! This year I think I have a better idea and I’m looking forward to trying again.

27 Oct 2010, 19:26
Samuel A. Rebelsky (1 post)

While I think PragProWriMo sounds great, I wish it wasn’t the same month as NaNoWriMo. Some of us might want to try both activities, but the two simultaneously seems nearly impossible. (So, I guess it’s time for me to try to figure out which I want to attempt.)

27 Oct 2010, 20:12
Theodore Casser (2 posts)

I think this is an awesome idea. (Setting aside the possibility that my spouse will kill me.) NaNo, for as much fun as I find it, has lost its challenge for me, least of all because I don’t think I ever churn out anything worth publishing. Maybe this will focus me a bit more…

Now to find an idea.

27 Oct 2010, 20:55
Andrew Money (3 posts)

I’ve participated in NaNo for several years now, but my story always dries up before the 50K mark. I was actually talking to someone just yesterday about turning a recent presentation into a technical book. I’m pretty stoked about this one and up for the challenge. I’m looking forward to Nov. 1st!

27 Oct 2010, 21:21
John M Athayde (39 posts)

I did this last year and wrote about the one thing that I was really really passionate about, which is bad html/css in the web apps I work on daily. I ended up writing through November, showed it to a few people (and a few PP writers) and they encouraged me to submit. Brian Hogan’s book hadn’t been announced yet, and so that particular idea didn’t work. I redid my core tenets as a presentation at Rails Conf and realized the problem wasn’t so much html/css but the Rails View itself, and I rewrote parts of the book with my co-worker, Bruce Williams and now, we’re writing that book for PP.

Find something you’re passionate about, even if you think it’s been done or what not. Chances are you have a UNIQUE view on the subject.

27 Oct 2010, 21:56
Fred Medlin (1 post)

I like and I think I’ll use it for NaNoWriMo. They do a monthly challenge to write everyday. The statistics at the end of each session are pretty fun. November’s challenge is here:

Rich (square)_pragsmall
27 Oct 2010, 22:12
Richard Wolf (1 post)

Okay, I’m going to give this thing a whirl. I already know the topic I want to write about…deploying iTunes U. iTunes U is my only claim to IT fame and I have always wanted/threatened to do a real write-up on it. Apple supplies an iTunes U admin guide, but it assumes that iTunes U admins (who are, very often, instructional technologists) have a lot of very geeky knowledge that they often do not have. Also the admin guide is very generalized…it gives an overview of what you have to do to implement iTunes U, but is lean on examples/specifics. iTunes U is not really a PP kind of topic, but hey, maybe someone would be interested? :)

28 Oct 2010, 00:18
Julian Gamble (34 posts)

This sounds really good. I’ve got some ideas I’d like to develop.

28 Oct 2010, 01:46
John Bresnik (4 posts)

Yea Im onboard as well..

28 Oct 2010, 03:10
Fred Reillier (4 posts)

I’m in too. Using 750words looks like a great idea… I just need one day to sort out which of my thousands of book ideas deserves the effort (a double effort, since english is not my primary language; I’ve never written more than a few pages in english, for essays at the University).

28 Oct 2010, 03:48
Brandon Hays (2 posts)

Awesome. I’ve had a writing sample for a novel sitting in my “to do” pile for the last 8 months. Time to buckle down!

28 Oct 2010, 16:23
Janine Ohmer (10 posts)

The market is flooded with iOS development books but I still haven’t found the one I want. So I guess I will try my hand at writing it. I am not sure that I will be able to put in enough time (I have one of those jobs where you’re always on call, so my time is never really my own) but I will give it my best shot.

28 Oct 2010, 17:38
Stu George (6 posts)

I might give it a crack, Ive got in mind something very introductory kid level like. but with house/wife/2 baby boys/chickens/dog there is not much time for luxuries like time to myself to write :P Maybe I could write about dealing with a house/wife/2 baby boys/chickens/dog but figure thats most rural folks day to day anyway.

29 Oct 2010, 06:08
Marian Way (1 post)

Ever since last year when I discovered NaNoWriMo just after it finished, I have had in mind to write my book in November, but as it’s not a novel, I cannot take part in NaNo… my book is not a technical IT book either, but is a ‘how to’ book about “Clean Language” so am hoping that is close enough to join in here!

29 Oct 2010, 07:00
Kalle Lindström (5 posts)

This is a great idea! I’m in as well.

29 Oct 2010, 12:57
Sean McMillan (4 posts)

@Fred, thanks for the link to 750words – that’s an awesome resource.

I’m planning on writing on Prototypal Object Oriented javascript, because I think it will really come in to its own as browsers support ES5, and there really isn’t a good book that tells you how to write javascript. A few good ones teach the language, and a lot of others teach specific techniques, but no one teaches you how to write programs in javascript.

29 Oct 2010, 21:57
Raymond Yee (47 posts)

Hi everyone,

I’ve decided to jump in with PragProWriMo this year. Ever since I wrote my book on mashups ( almost three years ago, I’ve been wanting to write another book (or three). When I was in the midst of writing, I thought that I’d just continue along in a book-writing mode. That didn’t happen that way; I learned that I had put a lot of things on hold in writing that needed to be attended to.

But now I got the writing itch again. I’m excited to have an occasion and a structure for focusing on the steady production of words (while suspending the questions of quality during November at least). I’ve decided that I will also postpone dealing with the question of commercial demand and marketability too, and just write what I want to write. (though after my first book, I swore that marketing would be foremost on my mind, and that I would only write a book for a larger audience. Oh well.)

I don’t have a book concept crystalized in my mind yet but I’m leaning heavily towards writing about personal information management for “knowledge workers” who can also program. I’ve been on a (futile?) quest for the ideal personal information manager since I first used an outliner in MS DOS. I imagine somehow that we should be able to knit together a programmable framework that would allow people to create a PIM that would work for each person. So far, I have a jumble of thoughts, a few prototypes, and a lot of passion for the topic. Writing a 60-100 page draft of a book might be a great step in helping me sort out and communicate my thoughts and get some feedback.

30 Oct 2010, 05:54
M. Edward (Ed) Borasky (8 posts)

I think I’m in - not a novelist but love tech writing. Is there a list of “Gee, PragProg would just love to have a book on …” topics somewhere? ;-)

30 Oct 2010, 16:51
Torsten Becker (8 posts)

Hi Edward,

see for some ideas of requested books,


31 Oct 2010, 04:49
M. Edward (Ed) Borasky (8 posts)

Thanks, Torsten! I took a look at the list and I don’t really know anything about those topics. I think I need to stick with something I know well - chances are it will be based on R. I’m torn between “Pragmatic R Programming” and something on text mining and social network analytics. I’ve got to write a bunch of documentation on my virtual appliances anyhow - might as well make in into a book.

31 Oct 2010, 12:19
Bob Cochran (170 posts)

I work in a shop that hires trainee software developers every few years. We do not look for technical skills among the trainees, but rather the likelihood that the person can be trained and is likely to succeed. The focus is on learning and practicing z/OS assembly language programming on IBM mainframe machines. There is also a new initiative that we call the Java Immersion Program, intended to develop a cadre of qualified Java programmers. Technical training is provided, but students are left to self-train in critical social skills areas. They often entirely lack good social skills. I’d like to write a book aimed at students and other new hires in technical positions that will complement their technical skills by discussing skills in social areas that are more important, such as meeting others and discussing projects constructively. One spends relatively little time coding: the greater part of the day goes to meeting participation, answering or posing questions by email or phone, studying or creating documentation. How someone performs in these activities greatly influences success within the company. The technical people who do best are the ones who have learned to listen carefully and ask a lot of questions without being judgmental. Social skills are far more important than technical skills.

31 Oct 2010, 17:23
Michael Swaine (69 posts)

I’m in. What makes sense for me to focus on is revising the 50,000-word novel I wrote last year during NaNoWriMo and haven’t touched since. I’m not sure exactly how to report progress, since I’ll be revising and expanding existing copy, but this looks like my best bet to take the novel to the next stage.

01 Nov 2010, 07:17
Torsten Becker (8 posts)

I’m in. This is a great idea to get me started in writing.

01 Nov 2010, 10:49
Arin Sime (4 posts)

Count me in. I’ve got a couple of ideas for books. So I’ll probably try writing for two or three ideas and see which one sticks the best or seems to be turning out the best. Hopefully that strategy isn’t too distracting, since I don’t want to lose momentum, but we’ll see! Thanks for the push PragPro!

01 Nov 2010, 14:07
Raymond Yee (47 posts)

Now that PragProWriMo has started, is there a structure for how we’d like people to post about their writing progress and for how people might want feedback? (I wrote 760 words this morning and so am particularly pleased with myself this morning. :-))

01 Nov 2010, 15:25
Susannah Davidson Pfalzer (114 posts)

Hi Raymond,

Good question about posting your writing progress; see this post:

And to all of you: it’s fantastic to see all your enthusiasm and ideas! Today’s the day to start writing - let the PragProWriMo fun begin!

02 Nov 2010, 00:15
Andy Maleh (1 post)

I’m in too. I want to write a book about Practical Positive Thinking Patterns (or something like that).

03 Nov 2010, 21:29
Daniel de Kok (38 posts)

Just in. I thought this would an excellent opportunity to pick up writing again (years ago, I wrote the Slackware Linux Basics eBook).

“Corpus linguistics for the working programmer” is my working title (no pun intended :p). It will be a practical introduction to corpus linguistics, with an emphasis on information extraction.

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