Book Writing

Which do you think sounds more interesting:

1) A book discussion my car accident, where I elaborate much more than I did here. I’d talk about all the details regarding recovering from such a life changing event. There would be medical, social, relational, financial, and educational bits pertaining to my recovery. It’s a story people love to talk about with me, and I’ve been told numerous times to write a book on it. It seems like a boring subject to me, so I’ve never really considered writing it down.

or

2) Fiction. Which I suck at, apparently. (Just ask me, I’ll tell you)

or

3) Tech book, likely written in the Linux/Thin Client realm.

The deal is, I want to write a book this winter. I’m curious which sounds the most interesting. Please don’t hesitate to be blunt — I really have no preference, apart from a fear of fiction writing. Here’s I’ll make a poll, because those are fun. πŸ˜€

35 thoughts on “Book Writing

  1. I like the idea about your accident. Your a very religious person, you could a write it a true story with a religious side, of God holding your hand and helping you deal. So its a true story and a inspirational religious book too.
    And you are good at writing fiction!! I remember you writing when you were in high school, you can write fiction!!!
    Computer book, only problem is I can’t wait to read what you write, but I don’t follow computer language.

  2. I’m new to your website. I picked up a copy of Linux Journal a month ago, checked out their website and saw something stating you were from Michigan.
    “Hey, I’m from Michigan! That’s cool!”
    So I found myself checking out your website, videos, and Twitter. I just read the story of your accident and it’s amazing. I think other people would find it very interesting.

  3. I think that I just did the selfish thing.
    I voted for the Linux thin client book because that could help me out at work.

    Your car accident would make a great book though.

  4. I’m trying to decide. I would read a book about your accident. I would read a fiction book. I have read stuff you have written and its real good. I wouldn’t want to be the english teacher who proof reads your work cause they’d try to correct but you’d be right. Now if you wrote a computer wizzard book, I’d always be in your dust and most likely never make it through, nobody ever translates computer jargon they take you by the hand through the maze and there you are. So if you want me to read your book don’t do computering. But I don’t have a lot of time for reading anyway so …here we are again. Couldn’t I just give you a bandaid? Maybe you could write short stories and write all three!! If I think of a good solution I will let you know. Love MOM

  5. Wow, I just read the car accident post. I had NO idea. That’s some deep stuff, my friend. Well, I’m a memoir reader, I LOVE memoirs. I know enough about Linux (shhh… don’t tell anyone) to get myself into serious trouble and there are too many fiction writers in the world. Write about the accident. Depending on your reasons for writing it, might want to not make it too faith-based, that really cuts into your audience, IMHO.

    So, yeah. Memoir – and give all the gory details. I’m a sick person, I realize this. I’m okay with that.

  6. Shawn, I adore your mother. MomOfShawn, you are A W E S O M E.

    I clicked “car accident,” but I have a hunch you could write some really good sci-fi/tech fiction. You’re inventive, humorous, energetic, weirdly intense on the geekery. In other words, you’re a bit Iain Banks, a bit Neal Stephenson — in other words, you’re Bruce Bethke. If you haven’t read “Head Crash,” go do so and see if it sparks something in your imagination. If you instead opt for the crash story, give “Me, Myself, and Bob” by Phil Vischer a read. I imagine your voice in a book would be like his.

    Regardless, whatever you write is going to be fast and funny and sincere all at once. You’re just like that, I think, and it’s going to come through.

  7. I know that you already know my opinion… but for the rest of you, my vote is for the car accident. I am a little sad, however, that you never mentioned the one thing that really carried us through it all and that is our family coming to know Jesus. You are a great Christian husband and father! It is because of His blessings that we are where we find ourselves today.

  8. Memoirs are always cool, and that’s what I voted for.

    If you decide to go with fiction though, remember that Nanowrimo is only two months away! πŸ˜€ All you have to do is actually show up in an IRC channel with me in it, and I’ll pep talk you (or badger you, depending) until you do all 50,000 words.

  9. Candy that’s a good point.
    If the book got stuck in the Christian inspirational section I would never notice it.
    I would probably still read it just because it’s Shawn but it would be the first and probably last book from the Christian inspirational section I ever read.

  10. Shawn,

    I voted for the tech book. You love tech. You love writing about tech, you love talking about tech, you love recording videos about tech.

    As much as I might prefer to read a book about your accident, I think that it would be much easier for you to write a tech book than it would be for you to write another kind of book. At least right now.

    I say write what will come easiest to you, and then save the story of your accident for after you have gotten yourself in the habit and discipline.

    Don’t write the memoir because everyone wants you to write it. Write the book you will enjoy writing. Write what excites and interests you, and what is *easy* for you to write.

    As a tech writer myself, I can tell you that there are a dearth of well written tech books out there, and the world needs more tech writers who can, well, write.

  11. Wow. Your story hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn’t know about it because I’m new here. I vote for the car accident because it’s so powerful, & you can add your wonderful wife’s side too.

  12. Car accident. I’m new here as well, but it seems to be by far the best option. Fiction… saturated market. And as much as I would love to see a book on thin clients, my guess is that that area is already saturated as well.

  13. MWT beat me to it, I was going to suggest you do Nano this year…and just see what flows…..I think Matt is doing it this year, and I am as well, so there would be lots of us to see each other through.
    (for the record, I am voting car accident)

  14. I keep seeing people say they are new here. Hello to all the new people!
    Did you guys find Shawn’s site because of the article on digg?

  15. I vote for all three. I think you could write fiction, I’d love the bio piece, and you’d do a great job on the tech book because you know how to explain things well.

    But the most important is to write what you most want to write. That’s what you’ll most likely write best.

  16. Memoir.

    I think your particular brand of irreverence mixed with the serious nature of the topic would mesh well. I’m kind of assuming that in spite of the seriousness of the topic, we wouldn’t see you taking yourself too seriously.

    Oh, and Hi new people.

  17. Well, I’ve been watching your LJ podcast on Miro for a while now, and I only found out about the car accident today. Although I was very interested in the story, much of my interest comes from the fact that I’m familiar with you through your video podcasts in that eerie “I’d recognize you in a crowded mall, wave, then realize you’ve never met me before” kind of way.
    If I had never heard of you before, I don’t know I’d pick up a story about the depressing and lonely climb up from debt and medical/insurance craziness. I myself was an arson victim while living in my first apartment out of college that led me to living in a hotel for a month, unemployed and looking for my first real job while dealing with a police department that was trying to pin an arson crime on me despite a complete lack of evidence or motive. Eventually, I was able to piece everything together, and I recently bought my first home as well. My point is that everyone has a life story, and caring about that person helps you care about the story.
    I’m very interested in Linux and the gadgets that you get to play with, and reading more about Linux and Thin Clients, especially working in conjunction with the new low wattage super small machines like the ones at linutop.com, cherrypal.com, or the Aleutia E1 that was mentioned in a LJ video blog. I guess I’m a sucker for Linux books, so I’d suggest going that route, but I know that the update cycle on those books is wicked, and I always look for books written or updated within the last 18 months, so your window would be small before your book is obsolete. Your life is your life, whether it be two years or twenty years from now, so that story will stay relevant for a longer time, in whatever format you choose to express it.
    Whatever you choose, keep creating material. I sincerely appreciate having the ability to peruse your online creations.

  18. Wow, I’m overwhelmed. πŸ™‚

    Hello to everyone visiting, thank you for all the kind words. Ross, Andrew, Tracy, Jason, MOM, UCFers, everyone else — I really appreciate the feedback.

    My initial thought is that I will try writing a book about my accident. Ross, you make a good point that it might only be interesting to someone that knows me, or of me, but I think it might be good for me to get it out on paper.

    Maybe it won’t end up as a book at all, but based on the feedback I’ve heard (both here and in meatspace) I really should write the dumb thing.

    At the very least, my goal would be to make it interesting. If it doesn’t at least make me laugh, what’s the point in writing it, right? πŸ˜€

    Thanks again everyone.

  19. Hey Shawn

    I’d say tech book. But I’m just not into fiction or car accidents πŸ˜›
    If there were a book regarding linux and thin server clients, written by a guy who actually administrate that at a school, it’ll might spread.
    Some day they just might realize that linux is not dangerous.

    Claus πŸ™‚

  20. Hey Shawn,

    I voted for the tech book because based on what I’ve seen I think you could write a tech book that would be informative, but would also be a fun read, something people wouldn’t read to cure insomnia.

    On the other hand, your car accident and subsequent rough period and recovery make a compelling story.

    If you want to try your hand at fiction, I too would recommend NaNoWriMo. I have an idea for a novel, but I’m waiting for NaNo to get started. I know I wont get it done before hand and last year I actually managed to get to the 50k words.

    In the end, though, you should write for yourself, like Michelle said, and do what you want to do.

  21. You could also write a fictional book about car accidents and thin clients πŸ˜‰

    Oh, and Brad, I’ve been following Shawn ever since I started freelancing for Linux Journal.

  22. Wow… 25 comments, now 26. I just had to make that observation. Hey all you commenters: go comment on Shawn’s stuff at LinuxJournal.com. πŸ™‚

  23. Shawn, Katherine said to go to that Lynx place and comment so I tried, well I found your video thing but the volume on my computer only works on low so I couldn’t hear very well and I sure couldn’t find a place to comment so this is your comment. Love MOM

  24. What might be interesting is, in addition to your accident, how you came back from your accident and rebuilt yourself professionally, choosing IT and Linux as your direction to go. That way you can satisfy your ambulance chasers and your technical groupies. (I say that with fondness because I fall into both camps)

    Also, you need to have a big ol’ stamp on the cover that says “hot blogger”.

    Donna, I respect that your faith is a central part of your family’s life – and a nonjudgmental and open discussion of how it helped is probably an important part of the story. If the story is about recovery as a whole, body, mind & spirit – then it’s interesting to me. If the story becomes primarily a vehicle for the religious message, then suddenly the apeal becomes much more limited. That’s why I personally detested the LaHaye books, the story got lost because the message was so shrill.

    Regardless of which section of the store it lands in – memoir, tech journal, or inspirational, I’d still read it because it’s Shawn and he’s a friend.

  25. First off, I have to agree that Shawn’s Mom is adorable. Hi Shawn’s Mom! [waves]

    Second, I’m voting for car accident because I think Shawn’s good at making personal stories interesting and finding the humor in grim situations. That being said, Michelle’s advice is correct — write what you want to write.

  26. Shawn,

    I’ve read through all of the comments and my vote goes to you writing a book about how to be THE IT staff. There are tons of 1 man tech departments out there, and I think a major problem is that there isn’t enough communication between those one person sects. It would be interesting to see how someone who atmits to poor time managment manages to be the server administrator, (for every single service) the user support,(email, web, calendar, moodle, hardware and software problrms) and everything in between

    I think someone in your position would have to come up with a number of creative ways to effictively support a whole school system basically single handedly. Also I can back up that claim because I am one of the few to have worked with you πŸ™‚

    As for the car accident book… I’ve heard the story, and you’ve answered all the questions I’ve had about it so I’d rather have the book I suggested πŸ™‚

    As for fiction, I’ve come to a time in my life(I’m 23… I know its pathetic) where I don’t care about imaginary stuff, and I don’t like sci fi much at all, and I’d assume that’s what you’d be writing.

    This was all written on a blackberry. My thumbs be tired

    Ryder

  27. Last I wanted to say if you wrote any book I’d buy it and read it, so you don’t have to worry about losing me as a customer.

    Ryder

  28. I say car accident. Even though I’ve heard the story a billion times, I’d be interested to go more in depth with what you & your family went through. But I would definitely like to see something about how you & your family became Christian. πŸ™‚

  29. Ultimately the choice is your. I am sure anything you write will be lighthearted yet insightful.

    If you consider doing the tech book I would be more than willing to help out.

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