Monday, January 15, 2007

Writing Assignments

I haven't been blogging a lot lately because I've so tied up with other writing stuff. I have a huge number of writing projects ongoing. Ironically enough, I've been writing more than ever, just on longer-term stuff than blogging (and, for various reasons, my primary blog writing time, which is sitting in airports, has been down lately). Here are the projects:

  • I'm editing the No Fluff, Just Stuff Anthology, Volume 2: The 2007 Edition as we speak. Just like last year, this one is filled with contributions from No Fluff, Just Stuff authors (14 of them this year) ranging from Web Services, language stuff, testing, agility, persistence, and a whole bunch more. We've also retained the very popular The Authors Speak chapter, where the authors talk about books, favorite tools, and (new this year) favorite travel horror stories. We've also added a couple of collaborative chapters, one on Eclipse Tips and Tricks and another on IntelliJ Tips and Tricks, with contributions by authors who use those environments. This one is bigger than last year's, weighing in at over 350 pages. It'll be out in March of 2007.

  • The Productive Programmer, for Pragmatic Press, is the book David Bock and I have been working on for about a year. We keep coming up with good ideas and our writing time keeps getting OBE (Overtaken By Events). But, he and I are really starting to crank out some pages because we really want it out in the first half of 2007. Look for it to pop up on the Pragmatic Press website soon as a beta book.

  • I'm also involved in a project with 3 other authors (Zak Tamsen, Jeremy Stell Smith, and Joe O'Brien) on writing DSLs in Ruby. Frequent readers of my blog know that this is a big topic for me, and my co-authors have come up with some awesome examples. This book is also for Pragmatic Press, and we've been cranking away at the pages recently, after spending several months discussing and generating examples. This book will blow some people's minds!

  • I'm also contributing to another anthology which shall go unnamed at the moment. Thankfully, that was just a couple of articles (one solo, one collaboration) that is done and off my plate for now. I wrote about Polyglot Programming, greatly expanding on the ideas presented in my blog entry of the same name.

Think I've got enough writing pending? Whew! Hopefully, if it doesn't kill me, I'll have 2 books and 2 anthologies out in 2007.

Finding the balance between short-term, idea fountain type writing in blogs and longer term, more cohesive writing for books is an increasing challenge for those of us who write a lot. Some of my colleagues (like Jay Fields) have essentially written a book, one blog entry at a time. If he published his blog between covers, he'd have one of the influential DSL books on the market. I've been trying to talk him into doing just that. It just goes to show how something as staid as technical publishing is not immune to seismic shifts because of the very topics that appear in their books.


GS said...

Do you also outsource writing jobs?

Tobin Harris said...

Out of interest, how did you find the Pragmatic Press writing toolchain? Do they use DocBook?

Neal Ford said...

The prags have a brilliant and proprietary writing toolchain, loosely based on DocBook and several other tools. They approached writing as a development project, and it shows.