Discover more from Software Design: Tidy First?
Earning to Write, not Writing to Earn
“You’re just doing it for the money.”
I’ve heard this criticism of technical ideas since, well, ever. It’s laughable, really. If I was coming up with and encouraging the spread of software development ideas for the money:
I really suck at the money part so I should stop with the ideas.
It’s not that money doesn’t matter. It does. But the causation runs backwards for me. I earn so I can write, I don’t write so I can earn. Here’s how that works.
I was describing my writing process today. I love the moment I dig deep into a topic I thought I knew, desperate to explain it to strangers. It can be a topic I’m confident in & have done for decades. But really, how does it work? Why does it work?
*Boom*. That’s the moment I love. As I was writing Tidy First? I was trying to explain why people can relax about design changes. *Boom* because design changes are reversible, while behavior changes often aren’t.
I want as many of those moments in my life as possible. I find them deeply satisfying & other folks report them as valuable too.
Earn To Write
I was brought up on Buckminster Fuller optimism—do the great good for the largest number of people and Universe will provide you with all the resources you need. Turns out that’s not all there is to it.
I wrote 6 books between 1996 & 2004. I made some money from them, but not like retirement money. By the last one, though, the revenue was tailing off.
With my fixed expenses & my need to accumulate towards retirement, I can’t afford to have a big portion of my technical life not generate capital. So, what to do? I want to write. Folks who read my stuff want me to write. I can’t afford the time to write without earning. What to do?
The tidy-first mailing list is my geek incentives experiment in writing. Is the incentive of paying customers enough to get me through the 1000 hours of a book writing project?
So far I’ve made good progress on the book. I’ve slashed the scope twice. I’ve written the easily applied bits. Now I’m getting to the theory, which is the part that excites me. Recently, though, I’ve stalled, between vacations & COVID &, well, just being stalled. Writing this essay is my attempt to unstall me. Subscribe to see if it works.
I’m not writing to make money. I make money from writing so I can write.