Earlier this year I wrote about the book project I’ve been working on. For the past six months I’ve been splitting my time between Salon and work on the book. That’s been great but, as you might imagine, at times I’ve felt my world to be a little…bifurcated. (Since I’m a father of twins, this is not an unfamiliar sensation.) And there’s no way to write a book — none that I know of, anyway — without putting your back into it, 100 percent.
So beginning this week, I’m stepping aside from my job at Salon. It’s a highly orderly transition: I’ve planned it for some time, my colleagues and friends at Salon have been great about giving me the freedom to do it, and I expect to return when I’m done — but for now, the book is my work. After nine years (I left the San Francisco Examiner for Salon at the beginning of October, 1995, and we went live on the Web on Nov. 13 of that year), I’m ready for a creative sabbatical.
This blog will continue pretty much in its current form, with the usual spasms and lapses in posting, but the mix of entries may change a bit — in this post-election period, I’ll probably be posting less on politics (hey, the War Room is still on the case!) and more on the subject of the book: the nature of computer programming and software development. Why it’s still so hard to build the stuff that runs our world. And what interesting ideas are out there to make things better.
I won’t be writing the book in public here on the blog. I’m in awe of those people who seem able to blog full-time about the subjects of their books-in-progress, and I admire experiments in wiki-style open editing like J.D. Lasica’s. But I’m still a linear sort of guy at heart; if I’m able to do what I plan on doing, this book will be something more than the sum of its parts, and I can’t imagine how to roll it out piecemeal without altering its nature. I also don’t see how I’ll ever get the writing done if I put too much of my energy into blogging about it. But I certainly expect to be opening up some of the topics as I tackle them. And I know I’m gathering for more material than I will ever be able to include in the final text.
I’m profoundly lucky to be exploring this subject at a moment in history when throngs of thoughtful programmers have adopted the Web as a public space to talk about their work. It makes my work almost too easy.
Except that some time soon I have to stop collecting great notes and URLs and interviews and start, uh, writing.
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