Month: March 2013

  • Backup, Backup, Backup

    I can’t state this enough: Backup your work, writers.

    Backup. Your. Work.

    Those of you who haven’t lost precious work due to hard drive failure, theft, or similar data loss, often have a hard time grasping the seriousness of the situation. But when you sit there, realizing that all your hard work is gone forever, then you know true despair.

    Everyone should keep backups, and writers should keep more than most. There is no excuse, it is so easy. Not only can you use typical backup solutions like an external drive or a Time Machine, you can easily add additional layers of protection. Syncing to the cloud is obvious, sign up for Dropbox or similar this instance if you haven’t already.

    I also keep a backup email account which get a copy of the day’s writing. Make it a habit to email your backup email account every day and you know you won’t loose more than a day’s work at least. Your backup email account need to be with a different provider than your primary one, of course.

    Text doesn’t take much room. Back it up everywhere, keep an USB drive handy, backup to your FTP server. Whatever.

    Just backup.

  • Editing

    You have typed THE END and closed the file of your manuscript. Congratulations! This would be the perfect time to pop the champagne, open that 18 year old whisky, smoke a cigar, make sweet sweet love, or whatever else that qualifies as a pat on the back in your world. Do it, do it all, and enjoy.

    But don’t even entertain the thought of being done.

    Writing is not just about getting to THE END, it is not just about finishing the manuscript. Most of us will rewrite and rewrite again before we really think we’re done. And yet, we are not done.

    No matter what you’re writing, you will need to edit your work for it to be as good as possible. Even this thing I’m writing right now will get an edit pass or two, because I can probably improve upon it.

    When you’re submitting a manuscript to a publisher you’ll no doubt have at least one editor that will have thoughts on your words. Lots of thoughts, if the editor is any good. At first the feedback is sugarcoated perhaps, but the pleasantries will either disappear, or just sound hollow to you. This very person, this editor monster, is in fact ripping your baby apart.

    It hurts. You feel awful, useless. The whole thing is really close to being scrapped, rewritten, or just forgotten. You want to go drinking, to do drugs, you want to toss out the dream, and you want to cry.

    Don’t take it so hard.

    Your editor’s job is to find every tiny little bit that they think is less than perfect, and criticize it. The editor’s job is to rip your baby to pieces, so that you can stitch it back together, stronger and better.

    It is never a pleasant process. It is like someone tells you that you’re ugly, fat, you have a pimple on your nose, spinach in your teeth, and you smell bad. But multiplied by a thousand, with rusty nails somewhere unpleasant added for good measure.

    But it is for a good cause. Your manuscript will reap the benefits of the editor’s comments. Even if you don’t agree with them all, even if you stand your ground and stick with your initial idea, even then your manuscript will be better and stronger because of this ordeal. Don’t forget that you don’t have to agree with your editor, and don’t forget that your editor might have a point.

    Edit your words. Cry it out.

    And when you’re done editing, go celebrate. Because if you thought you deserved a night out after finishing the manuscript, you’ll deserve it even more when you’re done editing.

  • How Many Books?

    How many books do you get to keep?

    That thought just struck me. When I sold my house I gave away almost all my books, but now I’ve got some more room so I’m indulging myself, keeping books I like instead of passing them on. But how many are you allowed to have? A bookshelf? Two bookcases? Perhaps more, as long as you don’t have more than three boxes in the basement?

    My former self would say ALL THE BOOKS and scoff at this notion, but I don’t think it is that easy anymore.


  • Announcing The MacBook Fury

    Fast asleep, I dreamt up the MacBook Fury, a fusion of the retina MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air. Not too much to say about that, but here’s the disturbing part.

    My head dreamt up a press release where Apple announced the MacBook Fury. In my dream, I read about it on some Apple blog or other, quoted obviously. I visited Apple’s Swedish site to read the press release in Swedish, where it was available in the stilted language these things are usually presented in. Then, making a mental note of the crappy translation, I proceeded to tell my girlfriend about the MacBook Fury, quoting said press release myself.

    In other words, I dreamt of a new Apple product. Then my mind created the press release for said product, so that I could “read” about it in English. And then, in my dream, said press release is translated to Swedish so that I can tell my girlfriend about it. To top things off, the moment I woke up I stumbled out of bed to jot these things down on my retina MacBook Pro, hungover and miserable, yet flabbergasted about the whole thing.

    I need help. And a MacBook Fury.

  • When A Story Grows

    I promised a short story if the crowdfunding campaign for Fireside Magazine Year 2 went through, and it did. True to my word, I immediately (literally, since I pushed the magazine over the edge with my bourbon-infused donation) started writing.

    The story I promised had just one theme: A guy with a sword. I blame that one on Twitter, it is simple enough to fit in 140 characters or less.

    Other than that, I had no ideas.


  • My Code Editor Of Choice

    When I’m not writing books, I’m writing code. I’m especially fond of WordPress, something that probably comes as no surprise to anyone since I’m the man behind Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog. That means I’m writing PHP, HTML and CSS primarily, and I enjoy it most of the time. My code is either written for open source projects, usually WordPress themes, or for clients at the Odd Alice web agency where I’m the founder and CEO.

    Half of you probably knows all this and are wondering where I’m going with this. The other half are obviously shocked that I’m working with code…

    One of the most common questions I get in regards to my setup is what code editor I swear by.


  • Fastmail Failed

    Fastmail Failed

    I wanted to leave Google Apps behind, so I decided to give Fastmail a chance. Why, you might ask? Well, I can’t say I’m comfortable with Google these days, with them reading all my email and serving ads based on email content, as well as the overall notion that the company has their tentacles in every major online market. And then some.

    Quitting Google Apps, or Google’s email services really, has been on my todo list for years. The problem is there seem to be very few true alternatives.

    The Opera owned email service Fastmail came heavily recommended, so I thought that this might actually be worth a shot. I quit Google Apps cold turkey, pointing everything to a trial account at Fastmail, supplied my credit card information so that they could charge me at their leisure, and got started with the service.


  • On Editors

    Yesterday I delivered the manuscript for Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, 4th Edition. It is not a meagre revision, but a sensible upgrade to fit the ever evolving CMS it covers. I’m pretty happy with it.

    The manuscript is now in the hands of the editors. Yes plural, my publisher prides itself with several eyes on its books, which is a good thing for the reader as it should mean less errors slipping through. Because there will be errors, obviously. No book is perfect, no book is completely flawless, not even The Elements of Style, although I’d be hard pressed to find some fault of that one myself. That doesn’t mean that errors, mistakes, typos and whatnot shouldn’t be squashed as much and as often as possible, one must always strive to write the most perfect manuscript, to publish the most perfect book, at all times.

    My editors are heroes and heroines. Not because I’m a hard person to work with, although I will speak my mind and have the final say, as any self-confident author should. No, they deserve the hero Hero Status because they are such an integral part of the process, and yet they get no credit other than a line somewhere in the acknowledgement. Sure, editors are paid for their work, but they deserve more than I imagine most people would think.


  • The Final Chapter

    I’m putting the finishing touches to the final chapter of Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, 4th Edition right now. It is not the last chapter in the book, rather the one that I’m not done with yet. I try to write chronologically, but revisions are different and technical literature even more so.

    Along with this last chapter, which I hope will get wrapped up and sent to the editor today, is 40 or so screenshots I need to retake. Normally I’d do that alongside the writing, but the process with this edition hasn’t been normal. It’s been educational though, and the end result is better than the previous edition, so I’m happy with it. I think the readers will appreciate it too, so there.

    I’m even more happy about the fact that I can get along with three other projects, starting sometime next week. The final chapter is always the toughest one for me because The Next Big Thing is on the horizon, and I want to get going.

    But not until after a suitable celebration of a manuscript delivered and a job well done, of course.

  • Jag pratar på DrupalCamp Stockholm 2013

    Om en vecka, den 8 mars, är det DrupalCamp Stockholm och jag är där och pratar, just det, WordPress! Köp en biljett vetja.