The traditional print publishing industry requires long production cycles before any book or publication can see print. This situation has become more acute for authors like myself who publish books on annual software releases. I hope to use this blog to publish information, updates, addenda, ruminations, and other "mid-cycle" missives. I hope you enjoy it.

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Everybody needs something...

We all have things we have to do and things we want to do. On rare occasions those two are the same. Like most husbands and fathers, I have the daily kid's activities to attend to: taking them to sporting events, classes, activities. Most of these fit into both categories for me thankfully. I both "have to" to take my kids to their events and happen to enjoy and "want to" to do it. So this is the good part of the day.
However, there are many other "must" and "want" to dos. Some days it is all manageable, others it just feels like everybody needs something...

Writing CAD books (or any kinds of book I suppose) is can be both a "need to do" and a "want to do." I "need" to do it, because I signed a contract, my readers expect it and from a business perspective it does make up the bulk of my marketing efforts. (Less so these days I am afraid). I "want" to do it because even though it takes COUNTLESS hours, doesn't pay well, and can get tedious at times, I still really like it and in some cases even find it fun. What is not fun is looming deadlines and ever-shortening release cycles. So as I cram to try and complete pages, I wonder where the "glory days" have gone. What "glory days" you ask? I wrote the entire first edition of Mastering Architectural Desktop (v3.3) in 7 weeks in the public library. 7 weeks! Now it feels like it takes that to do one chapter sometimes... (exaggeration, but it feels that way sometimes).

In those days, 7 weeks was considered really fast. Now it is expected just to stay on schedule.

Part of the problem and getting back to the title of this post, is that when I wrote that first edition, my children were babies (thus the writing in the library), I was on sabatical from a full-time (real) job and the book was the only thing on my plate. Now I (and for the last five years) I work for myself, must maintain a consulting business, help my wife tend to 3 tween-age kids and their activities, meet my other family responsibilities, keep several book titles alive, deal with MUCH shorter release cycles and try to find time for some recreation and exercise once in a while.

Ah, we do miss those glory days...

Ah well, speaking of someone needing something, I have several phone calls to return, an overflowing email box (if I could just find a way to get paid to read email....), a book deadline looming, Chapter 8 to finish, and my mom needing help with moving some boxes. All in a day's work.

There's the doorbell (and the phone, and Outlook) gotta go...


Dave Baldacchino said...

Hey Paul, thanks for sharing details about your work and letting us take a peek into the life of a reference-book writer! It's surely not easy and I understand the "want" vs "need" dilemma. It's not easy sometimes! Keep up the entertaining writing =)

Paul F. Aubin said...

Hi Dave:
Thanks for the comment. I am glad you are enjoying the blog. I am just finding my voice on this thing, but I have a lot of ideas for future posts. But meanwhile, I have some "needs" to attend to... ;-)