First Novel Notes to Self

So I’m finally happy enough with my novel to start showing it to people. I have a few notes for myself that I wanted put down here.

  • I helps a lot if you just pick a tool and stay with it. I started in OneNote, moved to Word, then to Scrivener and back to Word. Some of that was trying to reconcile how to write in on odd places and times mixing between a laptop, iPad and iPhone. The problem is that the formatting still gets lost switching between applications. When that’s line spacing over a hundred pages it really sucks.
  • Don’t format anything until you are finally done. Keep it all in text. Formatting is a productivity trap that can be worse than Twitter or Facebook.
  • Use beats. I’m not a super heavy outliner, but I’m a sucky pantser. Beats help me figure out what to write next.

Now I’m hunting for more beta readers.

The Year Without Pants

I’m a huge fan of Scott Berkun’s Confessions of a Public Speaker. It’s the primary book I recommend for people doing presentations for the first time.

In Scott’s latest book, The Year Without Pants, Berkun trades his speaking, writing and consulting life for some time working at Automattic, the creators of blogging platform WordPress. I’ve done the consulting, industry, consulting dance and it’s both fun and scary to be responsible for what you recommend. Its even more fun in The Year Without Pants because WordPress is not a normal working environment. It a highly distributed, independently motivated environment.

Berkun does a fabulous job of relating what worked and where he made mistakes. The stories are relatable and funny. I felt like I was the silent extra member of Team Social. There is a great human/everyman quality to his writing. Berkun doesn’t try to force what worked at Microsoft on WordPress or what worked at WordPress on another company. He fits bits and pieces of what has worked other places into the unique WordPress culture.

I came away with a new appreciation for the effects of corporate culture and the  trade offs that culture decisions create. These were thing I knew, but Berkun manages to articulate them in a clear and approachable way.

The Year Without Pants is easily the best nonfiction book I’ve read all year and it’s better than most of the fiction. Just buy this book. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll take your pants off.

Hotel Fun

I travel a lot for work and spend way to much time in hotels so I thought I would offer this handy guide to some hotel terms and what they really mean.

Boutique Hotel – offers the convenience of being able to sit on the bed AND work at the desk at the same time.

Downtown Hotel – Average rooms at ridiculous prices combined with the convenience of being at least 30 floors from anywhere you want to be. Plus you get the privilege of paying for extras like WiFi and parking.

Corner King Suite – 2 rooms, 1 bed, really odd layout because it’s wedged in a corner where 2 other rooms meet. Also, WiFi won’t work in parts of this room because it’s in a far corner of the hotel.

Suite Hotel - There is not such thing as an upgrade.

Free WiFi – Doesn’t work as well as your cell phone

Paid WiFi – Doesn’t work as well as your cell phone at 10x the cost of your home WiFi

Corporate Rate – not available for any week you actually want to stay there

Disney Hotel – That incredibly long walk from the lobby to your room is really just training for the theme parks.

Starbucks Sign – The hotel serve Starbuck’s coffee. Sometimes this means they bought it a the grocery store, no latte for you. Sometimes it means an actual Starbucks. It’s always a surprise.

Handicap/Accessible Room –  Large bathroom door, no lip on shower, light switches and hangars placed low to accommodate people in wheelchairs. Note that this does not necessarily mean that a wheel chair, or a non-impaired human, will fit between the bed and the desk.

Recently renovated – You really, really didn’t want to stay here before the renovation.