“Don’t write a book” is the first piece of advice Michael Lopp offers us in a post chronicling his writing process.
Lopp–an engineering manager at Apple, author of Being Geek and Managing Humans, and more commonly known as Rands–details his tools and methods for writing a book and, as always, his advice is applicable to more than just the topic at hand:
You must become comfortable with incompleteness. At one point during the latest book, I had seven chapters in various state of doneness. When I began Managing Humans, I’d get panicky if I didnâ€™t complete one chapter before starting the next. This is your brain, once again, trying to organize where it shouldn’t.
The reason I have simple, readily available tools is that I can never tell when Iâ€™m going to be able to write. Iâ€™m on a deadline and my editor is breathing down my neck, which means I do have a weekly writing schedule that carves off mornings three days a week. As I settle into one of these mornings, itâ€™s just as likely that Iâ€™ll write as it is that Iâ€™ll count the number of folks in the room whoâ€™ve chosen to drink from ceramic mugs versus paper cups.
A singular focus on finishing a chapter is just another barrier to writing. By browsing all my chapters in various states of doneness, Iâ€™m more likely to pick one that is going to tickle my writing fancy: Oh hey, I have something to say about this today. Those ceramic mugs have to wait.
Kathy Sierra’s comment is one not to miss.