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Writing a Book in Public - Switching to Web Dev

5 mins 📖 📖 📖 

writing in public

I'm writing a book for people who want to change careers and get into web development!

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I opened Google Docs. Inside, I wrote down everything I could think of about switching careers to web development. I added a table of contents.

Google Docs snippet showing October 2020

I bought and read "How to Write a Nonfiction eBook in 21 Days - That Readers LOVE!" by Steve Scott. I opened my Google Doc and wrote down some useful pointers from the book.

I thought I better get on with my book, so I opened my Google Doc. I wrote an introduction and something about personal projects.

I used flashcards to organise a table of contents (which later changed almost completely).

Chapters and subheadings organised onto flashcards

I bought and read "Write Useful Books: A modern approach to designing and refining recommendable nonfiction" by Rob Fitzpatrick. I opened my Google Doc and wrote down some useful pointers from the book. The book helped me realise the table of contents I had created needed improvement.

I bought and read two other career-switch-to-web books. These books helped me figure out what I did and didn't want in my book: "How to Get a Job in Web Development: The Ultimate Guide" and "How to Become a Web Developer: The Career Changer's Guide".

Now that my child is in daycare, I can dedicate a little more time to writing. I can also keep telling myself that a little bit of writing a day is better than none. Logic over fear, let's go!

My writing mantra is to cut the fluff and tell people exactly what they need, in plain language. Currently feeling thankful for the longer, fluffier paragraphs I wrote years ago. I can take those and cut them down!

Update email 1 (31.03.23)


I have begun to include a mix of personal stories and more factual information.

Even though I know I don't need to yet, I'm worrying about things like how to fit the personal stories around the facts, among other things like tone of voice.

I'm spending lots of time moving chunks of text around and deleting stuff.

I'm finding that I'm not very comfortable writing huge blocks of text without immediately editing them. Going back to the blocks the next day brings me fresh clarity that enables me to edit better!

Sneak Peek

None yet. Maybe next time ;)


I found a good post from Leo Babauta. He says to make writing easier, write for one person only. I'm writing for people who are in the position I was years ago. I'm writing for people who wish for a career change and are interested in becoming a web developer.

Chipping away at the book, paragraph by paragraph, night by night. The work feels slow. Like I am adding dominoes, one at a time, very, very gradually to a long and dusty, years-old line of old dominoes that stretches further than the eye can see. But, I feel good about it! I can't see or even feel the progress. Not really. But I know it is there. Once I wrote 100 words a day for 100 days and at the end had 10,000 words of material. Those few words I wrote every day felt so easy to write and grew into something huge. This is what's happening with my book as well.

I asked a good friend of mine if she'd share her experiences of becoming a developer with me. She said she'd be happy to support me ❤️

I asked on Mastodon whether anyone knows a new web developer who used to do something else. I am excited to chat with people!

Buy me a coffee ❤️

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Slab BulkheadDionJohn Kemp-CruzMatt SteinJan Lehnardt :couchdb:Holger BartelFlaki


Slab BulkheadJon Croce

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  1. Andy Bell Andy Bell
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