Swizec Teller - a geek with a hatswizec.com

Senior Mindset Book

Get promoted, earn a bigger salary, work for top companies

Senior Engineer Mindset cover
Learn more

    What writing a book feels like

    When I set out to write Why programmers work at night I knew it wasn't going to be a walk in the park, but hey, I've got plenty of writing experience. How hard can it be?

    So far I've written 895 posts on this blog, written morning words on 561 consecutive days amounting to just shy of 460,000 words. If that was a novel it would make the list of longest novels. Clearly I am well prepared!

    My 750words stats

    I had no idea.

    Man, books are hard.

    Screw startups, launching small businesses and fun web projects. Writing a book is the most mind bending experience you can have, with the possible exception of having sex for the first time. Startups are an emotional roller coaster, very tough on the psyche - writing a book isn't even a roller coaster.

    It's schlep work through and through.

    My book is taunting me to write moar.
    My book is taunting me to write moar.

    Most of the time you have no idea what you're trying to say, but you have to say it coherently. It's as if your thoughts on the subject are being revealed to you while you write. The moment you're done with a subchapter you immediately need to rewrite it because now you know what you were trying to say and the initial paragraphs are all wrong.

    Sure, you're not supposed to edit while writing, but this isn't editing. This is refining a mind dump into a first draft.

    There's also a special kind of flow to the whole thing. Coding flow is easy, it's something I can go into almost instantly. But writing flow ... that takes time. And unlike coding flow, this one can't be paused. If you pause your flow, your writing will feel different when you get back. Readers will notice a break in the flow.

    Very jarring.

    So you do things like that *points at previous line* to make it seem intentional :)

    At the end of the day, you feel great! Finally managed to have a whole day for writing, It was awesome. Marvellous Ecstatic! You got plenty done and the book is almost ready to have its first Minimum Viable Book version unleashed on the world.

    You look at the time tracker - 4 hours. Just four actual hours spent writing. Because writing isn't coding and it's almost impossible to keep focused for more than an hour at time. Haven't built the stamina yet.

    But you're getting somewhere anyway. The chapter you've spent two weeks working on, tens of hours, is finally shaping up.

    Reading time 00:14:50.

    Published on November 14th, 2012 in Recreation, Roller coaster, Uncategorized, Writers Resources, Writing

    Did you enjoy this article?

    Continue reading about What writing a book feels like

    Semantically similar articles hand-picked by GPT-4

    Senior Mindset Book

    Get promoted, earn a bigger salary, work for top companies

    Learn more

    Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.

    Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.

    Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help 👉 swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.

    Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers 👉 ServerlessHandbook.dev

    Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization

    Want to get my best emails on JavaScript, React, Serverless, Fullstack Web, or Indie Hacking? Check out swizec.com/collections

    Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog

    Want to brush up on your modern JavaScript syntax? Check out my interactive cheatsheet: es6cheatsheet.com

    By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️

    Created by Swizec with ❤️