If you’re going to write a book…

Then here are a few tips:

  • Make sure you have the time to do it — you’ll need more time than you think.
  • Make mind maps, do plenty of them, so you can capture what you want to write without exhausting too much mental effort.
  • Experiment with different settings and environments for writing your book — some will be more productive than others. Sometimes music helps, sometimes it doesn’t.
  • If you’re writing a technical book, check what is happening in that space — during the course of my book, the software changed name, and gained a strong competitor, which I ended up incorporating into the book. It added about a year onto the production of the book.
  • Microsoft Word is a great tool for writing your book — saving documents to OneDrive or iCloud, you can work on a chapter from your desktop, and keep working on it whilst commuting via your phone. There’s a nice kick out of making use of time spent between going places.
  • When things get tough, you may catch yourself wishing you hadn’t embarked on the whole project in the first place. I know because I’ve been there. Keep going, you’ll be grateful that you persisted.
  • Don’t be afraid to remove content that you’ve spent hours working on — it’s better to feed the reader with high quality material than it is to bombard them with lots of content.
  • There will be drafts. Lots of them. You’ll feel frustrated going through the 4th or 5th round of review from your publisher, but that’s how they ensure that the soup is ready for consumption.
  • Finally, make sure to balance writing the book with having a life and supporting those around you. I wrote the book during what has turned out to be one of the most difficult periods in my life. I think perhaps I dealt with more than I could take on at that time, and it came at at a huge emotional cost to myself and my relationship. Don’t make that mistake.

I’ve finished writing a book for Manning called “Cross Platform Desktop Applications”. It has been a rollercoaster of 2 1/4 years of writing, reviewing, retweaking, and so on. I’m the first of my family to be a published author, and given that I once gave thought to quitting software programming back in 2012, it’s a long way to come.

If you decide to write a book, best of luck, and go for it — you won’t regret it when you finally see what you’ve achieved.