On Writing

Some of you have noted that recently I've been writing a little less frequently than in the months before. For a long time, I did five articles a week; recently, I've been doing three or four most weeks.

One reason for this is that I've been trying to write longer, more detailed articles rather than spreading a topic over several days. I think this allows for a better overall presentation of more complicated topics (such as my posts on screen real-estate, customization, and the PowerPoint Home tab) in which I can cover all aspects of a topic at once.

But it does mean that instead of posting five 400-word articles, sometimes I post a single 2500-word diatribe. I think the Raymond Method of blogging (short and frequent) works well for certain topics, but falls apart when people read Part 4 without having seen the information in Parts 1-3... so I'm still experimenting with the medium, in other words.

Another reason is that I've been spending a lot of my writing time collecting together the over 200 articles I've written so far into a more organized, single resource.

As great as a blog is for keeping up with a topic every day, it's a non-ideal medium for someone to show up new and to try to soak in all of the information here. Where do you start? In what order should you read? By date? By category?

So I'm collecting the articles into a mini-novella, expanding on some points, adding new pictures and updated descriptions in some cases, and generally trying to make something more sustainable out of the content here.

I don't know what the ultimate form will be or how I'll publish it, but I want to end up with a full end-to-end story which documents what we did and the thinking that went into it.

I'm working to create something that can be read by the people who have not yet discovered this blog and who wouldn't spend the time navigating the rather tedious organization to try to read all of the articles here.

So, stay tuned. There's a lot more to come...

Comments (11)

  1. muadib says:

    Not sure if you read him or not, but I know that Joel Spolsky kind of runs into the same situation on his blog (http://www.joelonsoftware).

    Point being there might be something on his site organizational wise that you might be able to make use of?

  2. Carl says:

    If you wrote this in Word, why is your "…" three periods, instead of a single ellipsis character ("… ")? I hope you’re not sick of dog food so soon 🙁 .

  3. s_tec says:

    Your collected works sound like a neat resource for user interface designers. If you were to publish it in book form, I certainly would buy a hard copy.

  4. modicr says:


    That will be an excellent book. Please add more

    history details …

    I also prefer longer blog spots, with links to previous ones, if necessary …


    Roman Modic

  5. [ICR] says:

    I do prefer the longer articles, though the shorter one’s were also very much apreciated and informative.

    I also love and greatly apreciate the work you’re doing in putting it together into some form of collection. Even though I probably would have already read much of it, I would definately read it again.

  6. [ICR] says:

    Just as an addidition (I got the idea just as I clicked Submit), I also love the idea of a retrospective collection. It’s cool to be able to comment and discuss on each blog post as it comes, but it’s also nice to read it all together after once it has come together to see how it all fits together.

  7. Step says:

    Still reading everything you post – I look forward to the longer ones more than the one or two paragraphs ones though, so glad to hear that’s where you’re aiming.  Thanks for all the work you’ve put into this!  A book would be interesting, and I imagine it would sell well.

  8. jan says:

    Is there a way we could read your blog starting from the first entry scrolling DOWN? It’s kind of hard to read last entry first when I want to review the developments you’ve written about. If I want to start from the first I have to read from the bottom and scroll up….

  9. jensenh says:


    I wrote this post from Community Server’s web-based authoring tool because I was installing a new build of Office at home (and so didn’t have Word installed.)

    It is worth noting that Word does convert certain things to be more web-friendly when blog posting, such as converting curly quotes to normal ASCII quotes.

    I’m not sure if ellipses are also converted to two dots.

    I also manually clean up a few things, such as changing em dashes manually to two ASCII dashes for compatibility with platforms/browsers in which they don’t show up correctly.

    When I’ve got Word installed, though, I definitely write my posts with it.

  10. jensenh says:


    Yep, Joel is a great writer and I read everything he writes with great interest.  My "new hire" reading list contains many articles he’s written.

    He’s a former Excel PM you know, back from the olden days…

  11. Martin Darnder says:

    Please, make this blog and your comments into a book! I will buy one in a heartbeat – it is "+5 Insightful" read all along.

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