writer

Such a disappointing feeling when a book is a letdown

I just spent 45 minutes reading a new book about a programming language I was excited to learn, then slammed it shut and said, “Poorly organized, too many words, not enough code.”

That’s always such a disappointing feeling when you have that initial excitement about a programming language (or technology), and then a book is such a letdown. (I really hope people don’t view my books that way.)

Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement.

“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.”

~ Winston Churchill

My preferred writing environment

When working from home, my preferred writing environment is to use a huge fixed-width font on a large monitor with a matte finish, and nothing else on the screen. I write my text using either Markdown or LaTeX, depending on what the output format is going to be. And Yoda and Meditating Guy make me feel a little less crazy when I’m talking to myself. ;)

Don’t objectify me (on writing and writing style)

Sometimes people write to tell me that they like my writing style, that I’m good at explaining things. Other people write and say that if they wrote a book, they would have written it just like mine.

The truth is, when I first started working with Scala I fell in love with the language, so wanting to write about it was easy. After that, I’m not that smart, so I have to break complex things down so I can understand them myself. So I think that by breaking things down and looking for meaningful examples, people seem to appreciate what I’ve written (or I hope they do).

After I wrote the Scala Cookbook and people sent me notes like that, I struggled with writing for a little while. Then I decided to just try to write for a younger version of myself and ignore what other people were saying. I just ask myself, “Would this have helped Al 2+ years ago?” Since then I’ve been fine.

Create, let go, surrender to more

When you worry about where your words land or how others digest or perceive them, you are clinging (and not allowing space for more to come through the channel). Continually create, let go, surrender to more. Create, let go, surrender to more. It is a divine dance. Respect your own story. Remain inside the rhythm.

~ Victoria Erickson

Hemingway: Each book should be a new beginning

“For a true writer, each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed.”

~ Ernest Hemingway