Writing my first book

Self doubt is a biggie for most people, and I'm no exception. I've wanted to write a book for decades, but have never got around to it. Two years ago I even blew an opportunity to co-author one with a friend. In my mind I was too busy. Looking back, maybe I was a little chicken as well.

But now... I'm finally doing it! The book is called "Live the Happy Minimum: Do the minimum. Be happy." It's geared for maker types who want to spend less time kissing ass and more time kicking it.

I'm a geek. I dig technical stuff. I should be writing technical books. So what am I doing writing a book about dealing with other humans? It won't be a long book (we're in a TL;DR age after all), but the thing is slowly clawing its way out of my head and into an ebook.

Making progress

I'm a few weeks in and I've got an outline I'm happy with plus about 25% of a solid first draft. Momentum is gathering.

I've read a lot of guides and books for authors, and most seem to say "write, write, and write faster you idiot!" There may be something to that, but I'm not robotic or masochistic (robochistic?). I do things different. Here's how I got the ball rolling on this thing:

  1. If I get distracted, I go with it. Even if I find myself editing or re-writing the preface (again). I don't like someone else micro-managing me, so why the hell would I do it to myself?

  2. I spent a lot of time choosing the right tools to write with, which are:

    • markdown (who the hell doesn't use it these days?)
    • Ulysses for OSX/iOS for creation
    • Sublime Text to tweak CSS and markdown
    • pandoc for HTML preview and ePub creation
    • kindlegen for .mobi creation

    I've got them all in a semi-automated workflow that's awesome sauce. I'm a geek, remember?

  3. I spent time farting around with book cover designs, color schemes and fonts. Somehow being able to see a work in progress on an actual device makes it more real, which I find motivating.

All this extra stuff is making the writing process fun for me. When I started, it was all I could do to take some random notes and toss them in a text editor. Now I'm putting in a solid 500 words a day and I feel great.

Any writers out there with a few tips for a first time author? Let me know in the comments below!

Dave Balmer Jr

Maker of things using computers. Lover of all things clever. Occasional speaker. First-time author.