Office space and the writing process...
July 28, 2007
Greetings from the left side of the great Pacific Ocean. I'm back in Japan and have been in full work mode (or panic mode) since my return. I can't wait for my second book, because I'm sure it will be a lot easier than this one. Progress is being made but what I am finding is that doing the writing and the design/layout is filled with a million headaches. The technical headaches, for the moment at least, make it difficult to get into a writing flow. But waiting around for inspiration is something I do not have time for. Sometimes you just have to grind it out. Writing sounds like a creative endeavor, and indeed it is. But it's about as romantic as a root canal treatment — it's more than a bit uncomfortable but it will be worth it in the end. This is what you keep telling yourself.
I appreciate your emails very much (you have no idea). And I am sorry that I can not answer all of them. I want to, but I just have to spend all my time writing, designing, getting permissions (argh!) and emailing those working with me on the book in Japan and the US.
I have never been one who needs a lot of space, but I have always loved having a cozy desk next to a window with a view. Below are two pics from my most recent writing environments. You can see my feet in Hawaii and then here in Osaka. Yes, I often kick my feet up on the desk sans shoes (and socks in my case). As you know, we don't wear shoes inside houses in Japan, a custom I took with me when I lived in the States as well.
Above: Working at small desk (but with a great view) at the hotel in Waikiki Beach. Who could complain?
Above: My home office at night high above Osaka (lights of Kobe in the distance). You can actually see chapter 4 spread out on top of the MacBook Pro (even the publisher has not seen that yet). Got to get all technical aspects ironed out over the weekend.
It's just a book
Most of the time I am consumed with thinking that getting this book complete is the most important thing in the world. Then while consumed with my own problems my eyes meet the weary eyes of a lonely homeless man in the park near my apartment, or I glance at the morning headlines to see it has been another horrible day in Iraq and I am made fully aware that this is just a book and in the whole scheme of things it doesn't matter one bit. Still, a project like a book is something you put so much of yourself in to (your time, your worry, your angst, etc.) that you can't help but hope it can make even the tiniest — absolutely microscopic — dent in the universe. I guess we all hope we can contribute something...
It's very interesting to read what progress you make with your book! I'm looking forward to seeing also the result of your hardworking period.
Posted by: Claudio | July 28, 2007 at 01:45 AM
You've discovered the biggest challenge and frustration of writing a book. The next biggest is finding time while working on a project and spending time with your family...
That said, I've had a contract for one book and approached another company with an idea for a different book. The first book never saw the light of day, not because I couldn't write about it, but because the opportunity passed before I was done. (It was for an open source project, and the community self destructed while I was writing the book).
The second book idea I have is not nearly so sensitive to timing. The problem? I have to explain abstract things like elegance and simplicity in a way where developers "get it" and can start doing it themselves. I've written and rewritten the first chapter about five times now, and I'm still not happy with it.
Based on my last experience (the book that was canceled), once you get past the first couple of chapters you'll find your rhythm and voice and it will become a lot easier. It's just not coming easy to me. I'm sure that you are wrestling with the same things, just a different application.
Posted by: Berin Loritsch | July 28, 2007 at 01:52 AM
I like your site & am interested in the way you are letting this project unfold publically.
But: MOVE THAT COFFEE CUP before you kick it onto your laptop!
Posted by: Solo | July 28, 2007 at 05:11 AM
Look at it this way: now that the last Harry Potter is out, what do we have to look forward to reading ? Your book ! So this is important, get back to work, drink more coffee, and hire a secretary to take care of the mundane tasks !
Posted by: Olivier Germain | July 28, 2007 at 06:16 AM
I love your blog, I reference it a lot. It covers presentation in a holistic, inspirational, and informative way. I will definitely pick up a copy of your new book when it is released.
Nice pictures of your works space and view!
Posted by: Mou Mukherjee | July 28, 2007 at 01:09 PM
Posted by: Chris | July 28, 2007 at 03:03 PM
Garr: I was wondering what Mac application you're using to write your book?
Posted by: Steve Nguyen | July 30, 2007 at 03:59 AM
Your site is awesome, very useful, and always interesting to read. I have been dreaming about and working on a couple book projects for more than a year. It is challenging many days to complete even a single page or short chapter. My biggest difficulty is getting a wholistic picture of the project and this makes it difficult to work on the smaller pieces. Unfortunately, what usually happens is...nothing. Hence, the years click by and little progress has been made. I hope your project is going better than that.
Posted by: MattS. | August 01, 2007 at 01:18 AM
It's great to compose a book and let other people know whats on your mind.
Posted by: serviced offices to rent | December 17, 2009 at 11:37 PM