Yes, I’m writing a book.
For the past few years I’ve harboured an increasing desire to release something on the internet.
A long time ago I used to create things - anything from web pages to radio shows to DJ mixes. But for the past few years I’ve felt like I’ve creatively stagnated.
In my day job as a software consultant I spend every day creating things for customers.
So how difficult can it be to create something for the general public, under my own steam?
The answer is – at least, for me – very difficult.
Creating is hard
When I’m given direction, I have no problem creating things.
Tell me what the problem is, and I’ll use my skills to create a solution, or at least make things better.
But creating on my own is much, much harder.
I tend to be a perfectionist, and can be very self-critical of what I do.
This makes it very difficult to pick one path and stick to it.
I usually become disillusioned with my own efforts and abandon a project halfway through.
To paraphrase Amy Hoy, my computer is littered with the graves of hundreds of half-finished projects. RIP ⚰⚰⚰
Why do I never finish projects?
I think it’s that I need to see some tangible measure of success at an early stage.
Before I launch head first into a project, I need to be sure that I’m going down the right path.
If I don’t see any early success, my interest dwindles, and I find myself quickly back at square one, which I call “the incessant list-making/note-taking phase” (I am very good at note-taking)
So what’s changed?
For 2017, I set myself a goal of launching “one tiny product”. I didn’t achieve that.
Summer rolled on into Autumn, and before I knew it, it was the end of 2017 and I had come nowhere near to that goal.
In December, I purged all my subscribers in my Drip account and made a fresh start.
I re-enabled some opt-in forms on Clever Builder and, to my surprise, subscriber growth has been steady at a rate of about 2-3 per day since the start of December.
In fact, traffic on Cleverbuilder.com has been slowly climbing over the past year. Google seems to be sending me more traffic (yes, my traffic is almost exclusively Google referrals) which translates to more eyeballs and more sign-ups.
This made me think that there is perhaps some interest in what I’m writing.
What product to create?
My most popular posts on Clever Builder are about the Apache Camel library for Java.
Most people visit the site through Google, via searches for “apache camel tutorial” and others.
There is clearly a market of people who are looking for tutorials about this framework.
I see some potential value in taking topics from my most popular posts, writing about them in more detail and making a beginner-friendly book about Apache Camel.
On the road to a book
Yesterday, I added some new opt-in forms which specifically reference a forthcoming Camel book. And within just a few hours, I already got a sign-up.
I’ve got a long way to go before that interest grows into a potential audience for a book, of course.
But, inspired by others in the developer-turned-author space, such as Adam Wathan and Thorben Janssen, I’m making my own start.
I get a lot of value by reading others’ honest blog posts, so I’ll be trying to post updates from my product creation journey on this blog.
I need to learn that it’s better to have tried and failed, than to have never finished anything.
So please watch this space if you want to know more!
NB: If you’re a Java developer and you want to learn Apache Camel, or if you’re just interested to hear more about the book, please check out cleverbuilder.com/camelstepbystep.