Wednesday, November 30, 2011

FInished NaNoWriMo

They call us winners for finishing writing a full novel during the month of November, and I feel like one.
I got up to 50,330 words.
I'll write more later, but right now I need to go drink something!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review of Non Fiction Books of the Second Half of the Year

Here is the recap the highlights of the non fiction books I finished since June.
This year I listened to or read on my kindle app about 1 book a week.
For the full list go to

Personal Development:
Willpower - By Roy Baumeister, John Tierney
Success can be traced to two main factors: Intelligence and Willpower. This book focuses on the one factor we can effectively influence. The authors give lots of studies to back up their practical ways to increase your willpower. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to get more out of their life, kick bad habits, or wants to raise self disciplined kids.

The 4-Hour Workweek By Timothy Ferriss
Ferriss' controversial book should be read by anyone who wants to be more effective in all aspects of their business life. He gives lots of productivity tips. He also teaches you how to create an automated money generating business. Ferriss' methods might be far too extreme for the average person, but I think anyone can become more productive just by listening to his philosophy of work life balance.
Finish the whole book before you judge it.

Talent Is Overrated By Geoff Colvin
Talent is another one of those traits that is a factor in success that we are either born with or not.
Colvin compiles surprising research on success and finds that the core is deliberate practice followed by coaching instead of a gift. I recommend this to anyone who is serious about improving their performance in the things they are passionate at including work.

The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey
Wondering why your relationships feel like work? Son of the famous Stephen Covey discovers Trust is the grease in the machine which allows everything to flow.
Lack of trust makes your transactions take longer and cost more. He digs into the importance of trust in many ways. I recommend this book if you are having issues in your relationships at work or at home.

59 Seconds - By Richard Wiseman
Wiseman gives a series of scientifically proven exercises you can do in 59 seconds to live a happier more successful life. I've implemented several of them to help me with Novel Writing Month including:
I hung abstract art- Abstract art increases a person's creativity
Brought live plants into my work area- Live plants (not pictures or fake plants) increase a person's productivity
Decorated my work area with Green - Green boosts creativity. See the picture.
He gives many more concrete tips you can do in 59 seconds.

The Social Animal By David Brooks
This is one of my favorite books of the year. Here is a copy of the write up I wrote earlier.
David covers an entire couples lives from before they were born onwards and their social interactions, professional careers, political careers almost as a novelist would with emotions and descriptions. Where this books differs from a novel is at each step in their development he includes a summary and examples of research on that aspect of life. He wraps us up in his characters, who are quite interesting and lead interesting lives, but he is also teaching us an enormous about of information and putting into context of how we live day to day.

Business books
Start with Why - By Simon Sinek
Companies with a clear answer and who can communicate the answers to "why they are in business" resonate with consumers who identify with those answers.
Sinek gives lots of examples and exercises to help you come up with your answer to Why, What, and how.
I highly recommend this book if you are starting a new company or wondering where your previously successfully company went wrong.

The Ultimate Sales Machine By Chet Holmes
Holmes definitely knows how to sell and he gives it to you straight in his 12 step plan. He covers everything from time management to how to interview and identify the best sales person. He says that you can know the 12 steps, but you won't be successful unless you implement them with "pig headed discipline" Better read the book, Willpower along with this one.

The Intelligent Entrepreneur By Bill Murphy
Murphy masterfully tells the stories of three successful entrepreneurs. I found the structure of the book helpful. He writes a chapter in their stories following all three in each phase of their adventure. Then follows it with a chapter dedicated to analyzing the lessons they learned in that phase. He brings in research and references other examples in these analysis chapters. This book focuses on those starting large companies, but the lessons can be applied to smaller companies as well.

If you want to know how I finish so many books, I always listen to books when I am not reading text. I listen to my audible books on my iPhone on my audible app. I buy the books from audible because it’s easier than getting them from the library and fiddling with CDs. I listen when I am driving, cooking, showering, walking around.
I also listen to them on high speed. In this way I can finish more than one a week if I work on it.

Try it next year.

Penultimate Date of Novel Writing Month- Bitter sweet

A heavy heart fills my chest in direct contrast with my hero's triumph. With only 1,283 words remaining to write, I feel like I am going to miss my characters as they leave me to continue on their own journey without me.

Its been a wonderful ride. I started reading Sol Stein's book On Writing earlier this week. His book's practical advice would have helped my book, but its too late now. I;ve been applying his principles in the last few thousand words. Three things I got from Sol which have made my last few chapters come alive are the following:
1. Fiction's purpose is to create an emotional experience through characters and events more interesting than the readers daily life. Non fiction is meant to convey facts. Once Sol pointed this critical difference to me, I've been more deliberate in identifying the emotion then crafting each word to evoke that emotion.
2. Every scene must be active. I realized most of book just summarizes what happened off stage. Readers want to see events not be told that some events happened sometime before. In my last few chapters I focused on writing active scenes.
3. Characters need to desperately want something. The thwarting of their desires is the core of the plot. I spent far too many chapters giving my characters the things they wanted.

I'll have to keep these three key points in the forefront of my mind when I write my next novel. You might say, so you spent a month writing a boring novel, what a waste of time! But I see it as I spent a month on an exhilarating ride, I developed the habit of writing 1,667 words everyday , and I learned what makes a better novel so that my next one will be even better.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 24- Thanksgiving for 40,221 words and a family who still loves me

National Novel Writing Month tests not only your own stamina for plot, character, and the wherewithal to sit down and write 1,667 words every single morning, but also the love and patience of your family. As I sit here in the kitchen surrounded by the family getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner, I am filled with thankfulness that they are so patient with me. They all are so supportive. My sister also types away on the family computer near by. We shout out our word count to each other to encourage each other onwards towards the 40,003 words our schedule demands of us.
The smells of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes drift by me trying to distract me from my writing. Every thirty minutes or so its time for a dance break. I get up with my sisters and dance around to a Maroon 5 song before getting back to writing.
I wish I could write a novel every month just for the thrill of hitting my word count each day.

Thank you NaNoWriMo!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Supporting Wikipedia

As I write my novel as part of National Novel Writing Month, I often need to check a fact. My first stop is Wikipedia. That is why I am so happy to support them with a donation.
You should too!

Support Wikipedia

Friday, November 18, 2011

Why I am starting Software Architecture Symposiums International

Why I am starting Software Architecture Symposiums International:

I love software architecture. I believe software architecture is the most fun job in the world. When I wanted to become a software architect I couldn't find anyone to tell me how to do it, so once I became an architect I vowed to help others become software architects too. The future needs more software architects. Software architects are people who know software development in and out but they also have communication, leadership and end to end vision for a software system. They are the linchpin in the creation of complex systems which run our world.

I am starting a new organization called Software Architecture Symposiums International. This organization will create experiences for developers who also believe that software architecture is the most fun and creative job and want to get better at it. The symposiums will share the best practices and passion from dynamic experts with the developers who crave the knowledge to continue to be the guru in their organizations.

I am so excited about this new organization I dream about it. I want to share it with everyone I know. You can read more about it at

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Poem for National Novel Writing Month for Poetry Day

My Poem for National Novel Writing Month for Poetry Day

All writing is rewriting
Novels don't write themselves 
Daily 1,777 words emerge kicking & biting
National Novel Writing Month is a test of ourselves

an orginal poem by Bett

This is your life

I am sharing this with you because I found it inspirational.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Day 11 of Novel Writing Month

Today is Day 11 of Novel Writing Month.
So far everyday has been a breeze to write the 1,776 words to make the 50 thousand word by Nov 30th required by National Novel Writing Month.
I get up early and write for two hours before work. Writing for two hours before work really jazzes me up for my  job. I am ready to get stuff done when I start.
I don't usually think about  my book the rest of the day, but sometimes when I am driving or sleeping I think about my characters.
Today was the hardest day so far. I got up late and only wrote about 250 words before work. I didn't like any of them. This evening my sister asked me to go to a coffee Shop with her, so I decided to get the rest of my writing in there.
When I got there I still had nothing. So I pulled out  my note pad. I started writing a letter from one character to another. Then after two full pages I realized what had to be done next in the book, and got out my ipad and started writing a storm. 1,981 words later I finished only because they were closing down.

If you are like I have always been, meaning a person who always wants to write something, but never does... Here are three things I've learned from National Novel Writing Month, affectionately called, NaNoWriMo:
1. Schedule the time to write and focus during that time. It doesn't happen by accident. If I don't put it on my schedule I'd never be able to find time to write.So if you are serious about writing, then put it into your schedule and make it sacred. Don't check your email or answer calls.
2. Just start writing. Often I have no idea what I am gong to write about, I just start writing. I'll write a line of dialog and then describe the physical position the person who said it is in. Then I add some emotion. Then I give the location. Soon I have a gripping scene painted before me.
3. If you get stuck, get back into your character's mind set. Dialog or write a letter from him or her. This will let you back into their world and allow you to recapture the story line.

Hopefully these lessons will help you as much as they are helping me. Write because everyone has a story from their unique perspective to share.
Let me know :)