You know that exciting feeling of possibility when you start a new project? Fresh ideas! World-conquering ambition! Ah, but how quickly that energy gives way to the reality of the long, hard work necessary to make it happen. Ideas, as they say, are cheap; it’s the perspiration and execution that matter, and those things never come easy.
The middle of a project, especially a very long project, is without a doubt the toughest — when you’re in the thick of it. It’s especially true for writing a book, one of the hardest kinds of projects you can tackle.
This is true for every writer I’ve spoken with: midway through a book, you sometimes wonder how you’ll ever find your way to the other end. You spend long hours untangling your logic, rebuilding shattered confidence, finding the thread again. It’s grueling, often dark work, which makes the important task of keeping the words bright and lively that much more difficult. You can’t let the pain show. If an author does his job right, the sweat and anxiety that went into the book are invisible to the reader. All you see is lively, effortless prose. “Effortless,” it turns out, takes a ton of hard work.
But then, as you approach the finish, that original, exciting sense of possibility rushes back. You sit there blinking at the hundreds of pages of original ideas that you painstakingly drew from your own head. When those ideas match or exceed your original expectation, there’s nothing quite so exciting or satisfying.
My latest book, Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps, starts shipping later this week. It’s hard to describe just how excited I am about it, how proud of it I am. Tapworthy is an unusual book, neither a code book nor a marketing book. It’s very much a design and idea book that explains how to “think iPhone.” Tapworthy delves into the ergonomics, culture, and psychology of the device to help you make something awesome: an iPhone app that delights. The book tells stories. Breathtakingly bright designers and developers share their early mockups, missteps, and breakthroughs — the hard work and tough decisions that make their own projects seem so perfectly effortless.
Along the way, real-world artifacts like calculator watches, Choose Your Own Adventure books, the world’s craziest Swiss Army knife, and The Greatest American Hero tv series bring the book’s concepts to life. It’s a fun and (oh god, if I did my job right) effortless read, chock full of thought-provoking ideas about what makes great iPhone apps tick.
The good folks at O’Reilly Media sent out the press release today, and the book should start shipping in the next couple of days. It lands in big bookstores next week. I expect to set eyes on the actual physical book for the first time in just a few hours. The anticipation is just killing me up in here.
You can order the print copy at the book’s O’Reilly page or Amazon page. Ebook and PDF versions of the book are available from O’Reilly. If you’re a book reviewer in need of a review copy, check out the press release for details.
If you like the book, I hope you’ll share your opinion at the book’s Amazon page. (Amazon reviews have a truly important impact on a book’s success, and a few kinds words are much appreciated. The same goes for reviews on your blog, Facebook page, or Twitter account.)
But it’s not about me, it’s about you. Most of all, I hope you find Tapworthy useful, interesting, and engaging. I hope the book offers some inspiration, triggering that same exciting feeling of possibility that will launch you into a fabulous new project (and sustain you through the dark middle).
You have the coolest job in the world. You design iPhone apps. Go make something amazing.