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Ry2_pragsmall
01 Dec 2010, 14:41
Raymond Yee (47 posts)

I know that a handful of us are going to continue writing and that Susannah is going to keep this forum open for a while. Since I don’t know how often we will be reporting in, I thought that I’d set up a thread to encourage anyone to report in this month.

I’m taking some time now to reflect on what I wrote in November and do some editing before adding a lot more content.

Travis-tiy-sq_pragsmall
01 Dec 2010, 16:14
Travis Swicegood (117 posts)

Feels kind of weird to get writing in and not post updates. :-)

I did get some more writing in – another two pomodoros.

-T

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02 Dec 2010, 03:02
Larry Jones (89 posts)

Well… I plan to post updates anyway :)

2280 12598 90998 total

A productive two Pomodoro’s. My book is slowly taking shape - at least in my mind.

Generic-user-small
03 Dec 2010, 04:28
Larry Jones (89 posts)

As they say in the movies, “It’s quiet. Too quiet.”

Here’s my update for the day:

2483 13694 99042 total

I’m happy with my progress today although I wonder if I’m making much progress. I’ve written most of pages so far in a single chapter/area. How do you know when you’ve said enough on a topic?

Travis-tiy-sq_pragsmall
03 Dec 2010, 04:34
Travis Swicegood (117 posts)

Another two for me and I’m nearing 25k words total. Pretty happy with the results.

Also, I have an idea for where to move this discussion and progress tracking. It’s my weekend project, so hopefully I’ll have some more updates either over the weekend or the first part of next week.

Ry2_pragsmall
03 Dec 2010, 16:32
Raymond Yee (47 posts)

Hi Larry and Travis –

I’m glad that there are at least the three of us who are continuing on. I plan to stick with our little support group for the duration.

Larry: You ask “How do you know when you’ve said enough on a topic?” I think it depends on what part of the writing process you are in. When I’m in the early stages, which are focused on just getting stuff out on paper, I would lean towards continuing to say more if I feel I still have things to say. Later on, when I’m editing, I’m looking at the issue of whether what I’ve written meets the larger goals of the project and whether it has the right proportions. For example, I might have decided that I should devote only 2 pages to a certain topic and the page limit becomes a determinant of whether to say more or cut down what I already have. Does that make sense?

Travis: I look forward to hearing more about your “idea for where to move this discussion and progress tracking”.

I’m now at 17500 words (46 pages). I’m pleased to be a tortoise making slow but steady progress.

Generic-user-small
04 Dec 2010, 04:41
Larry Jones (89 posts)

Travis,

I, too, look forward to the results of your weekend project. Thanks for putting in additional time on our behalf.

Generic-user-small
04 Dec 2010, 04:42
Larry Jones (89 posts)

Raymond,

Thanks for your advice. I think it is a great approach.

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04 Dec 2010, 04:44
Larry Jones (89 posts)

Finally, my progress today: 3 Pomodoro’s.

Here’s the totals for the day:

2672 14509 104780 total

Have a great day, y’all!

Travis-tiy-sq_pragsmall
04 Dec 2010, 21:28
Travis Swicegood (117 posts)

Haven’t got today’s pomodoro’ in yet, but will. Today will be 31 days straight of writing.

Larry – didn’t see your earlier question as I was in a hurry to post my update and get in to work. I know I’ve written enough about a topic when I can say “but there’s no way someone will need to know X about Y”. It’s the a problem of expertise syndrome. Once you know enough about a topic to write something the length of an article, much less a book, you forget all of the little things you needed to pick up along the way.

Of course, you can go overboard. Sometimes (as Susannah will attest to) I like to get wordy just to fill in blank space. I’ll repeat the same thing different ways a few paragraphs apart. That’s too much of the wrong kind of info.

-T

Generic-user-small
05 Dec 2010, 03:06
Larry Jones (89 posts)

Travis,

Thanks for the idea. I like your idea for when to stop.

In addition, your article on expertise syndrome provides great ideas on how to stay fresh in everything you do.

Finally, the advice of you and of Raymond reminded me of advice I head previously about presentations: know your audience. I think that in writing, I must have an audience in my and must continually remind myself of that audience.

Generic-user-small
05 Dec 2010, 04:04
Larry Jones (89 posts)

Another two Pomodoro’s today. Making progress but it seems very slow.

Here’s the totals:

2816 15203 110559 total

Generic-user-small
05 Dec 2010, 04:06
Larry Jones (89 posts)

So here’s my next “process” question. I began writing lots of text and little code. As I’ve begun writing more code, I find that I write in much more detail but with not as much breadth.

As long as I keep producing my 1000 words each day, does the “breadth” vs. “depth” concern matter?

Ry2_pragsmall
05 Dec 2010, 18:44
Raymond Yee (47 posts)

Larry: It depends. I often find writing code to the slow part of writing a book. There are parts of the narrative that depend on getting the code right first. Other parts of the narrative can be written independently of the code. I think there are days in which you can’t expect to necessarily hit the 1000 word mark if your focus is on code. But if hitting the 1000 word mark is central to what you are trying to accomplish, you can certainly mix up writing code and text.

Dmfcb_pragsmall
05 Dec 2010, 23:53
David Copeland (477 posts)

So, I’ve been working on a proposal to submit to PragProg. Since my book is all about command line applications, I decided to create a command line application that contains my proposal. You run the command with different options (all available via the help) and the output is the different parts of my proposal, e.g.:

$ bin/cli-ruby-proposal help
usage: Awesome Command-Line Applications in Ruby: cli-ruby-proposal command [options]

Options:
    -w, --full-width - Use the entire width of your terminal

Commands:
    bio         - About me, Dave, the author
    competition - Show some competing books
    help        - Shows list of commands or help for one command
    market      - Market info for the book
    outline     - The outline of the proposed book
    overview    - Show an overview of the proposal
    promo       - See some promo ideas
    sample      - View a writing sample

Is this too silly or over the top? Is the person receiving these unlikely to read it because they’ll have to install a RubyGem?

Ry2_pragsmall
06 Dec 2010, 02:53
Raymond Yee (47 posts)

David: I think your creation (proposal as a RubyGem) might appeal to a place like PragProg (for its originality and its “metaness” but I’m guessing that you should also provide the proposal in a more standard format (e.g., a PDF of the entire proposal that can be printed out), or at least the format specified in the guidelines, if there is such a format. You can also ask Susannah directly to see what she thinks….

Generic-user-small
06 Dec 2010, 03:41
Larry Jones (89 posts)

Raymond,

Thanks for the advice. It reminds me of the first habit, “Begin with the end in mind.” My current goal is to create a chapter in some depth that includes both code and data. As a result, while I try to achieve a functional goal of code that works, I’ll write much more in depth than writing a chapter that focuses on concepts or ideas.

Generic-user-small
06 Dec 2010, 03:44
Larry Jones (89 posts)

David,

I concur with Raymond’s assessment. As I mentioned earlier, it is important know your audience - not only your eventual target audience - but the other “stakeholders”: editors, reviewers and so forth.

Generic-user-small
06 Dec 2010, 03:45
Larry Jones (89 posts)

Another two Pomodoro’s today. My totals are:

3120 16322 121567 total

Slow and steady wins the race.

Generic-user-small
06 Dec 2010, 03:51
Larry Jones (89 posts)

I have one last question (he said hopefully) related to pace.

This year, I happen to have a number of vacation days that I need to use before year end. As a result, I will have more free time toward the end of December to work on my proposal / book if I so choose.

How wise is it to use that additional time to write? How likely is one to become “burned out” by writing too much? Given that many of you are writing or planning to submit book proposals, what are effective ways to use this “extra” time?

Travis-tiy-sq_pragsmall
06 Dec 2010, 04:28
Travis Swicegood (117 posts)

Hey Larry;

I’ve been prodded along a few times to use as much free time as I can to get some writing done (of course, I was already behind schedule when that was happening). The kicker is finding a balance.

Personally, I can’t write for more than 2 or 3 hours a day. I’ve tried. The results were bad. Likewise, I can’t sustainably code for much more than 4 or 5 hours a day either. Those are my paces. I don’t know about my writing, but I’d pit my 4 hours of coding up against most peoples 12 hours.

Experiment a bit. You’re keeping metrics, so try adding another pomodoro or two. Measure how much you write across each one. Two pomodoros is on my low side, but I end each day with more to say. That makes it that much easier to start up again tomorrow.

-T

Dsc00765_pragsmall
06 Dec 2010, 14:48
Susannah Davidson Pfalzer (114 posts)

Hi David,

Re. your question about the command line application: clever, certainly, but it’ll be easier for our group to also have a conventional proposal (PDF or whatever) to look over as well.

Thanks! Susannah

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07 Dec 2010, 03:15
Larry Jones (89 posts)

Travis,

Thanks for the ideas!

I’ll work to put these into practice.

Dmfcb_pragsmall
07 Dec 2010, 23:50
David Copeland (477 posts)

Been sick, but thanks everyone for the feedback on my submission idea!

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