Some thoughts about writing


May 2015

After writing The Pipefishbook, there were some book reviews complaining: “This is not a full stack book.” “This book does not go deep enough.” “This book is more about automation than it is about web applications”.

True, the book tries to discuss many topics. And, the directions of the book changed two times. First, the initial idea of the book was about writing on combining Ruby-on-Rails with Backbone.js in the beginning of 2013. At that time, the idea of a “full stack” engineer was still vague. You either worked on the backend or the frontend, but you would not combine both worlds.

Now, technical writing certainly is different from writing prose. And it is hard to find other technical writers sharing thoughts about writing. So, while trying to improve, I looked at the writing process from prose authors the last weeks.

For many, writing starts with not knowing, as John Drufesne explains in this TED talk. He tells us: “What you don’t know is more important than what you know, because, what you don’t know is what engages your senses of wonder.”

In fact, cultivating this sense of wonder is extremely important for learning and writing. Isaac Asimov explains it here.

I guess dealing with failure and not knowing is part of the writing process. But, it is also a kind of home that you can build for yourself and some readers hopefully. It is an inspiring idea from Elizabeth Gilbert, and the way she puts it in her TED talk is well worth watching in: “Success, failure, and the drive to keep creating.”

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