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How come?

I was wondering how Joel has so much time to do that quite *huge* articles...

any ideas? Joel? :)

See you all

Alexandre B. Corrêa
Thursday, April 3, 2003

Some people can write a lot, quickly. Or some people just dedicate time to get it done, even if start to finish takes a lot of "calendar days" because you're only committing a couple hours a week to writing.

There are people who MUST WRITE. I think Joel's one of those people. He'll always write, even if people stop listening, because it's in his blood. :)

Brad (
Thursday, April 3, 2003

One could also look at his writing as a very shrewd marketing strategy.  His articles (and this forum) attract lots of potential customers and create a relationship of trust and professionalism.  I’d say a large majority of the people reading this forum can name his two products and what they do.

I’m not at all implying duplicity in his efforts, just a duality in the result. 

Joel deserves a lot of credit for creating an inventive way to merge his personal writing skills with his business marketing needs.

Joe Paradise
Thursday, April 3, 2003

Because come!

Heston Holtmann
Thursday, April 3, 2003

Joel's writing is a combination of what he's learned, his opinions and his experiences.  The value in his writing is that:

* He's smart.  He sees patterns and truths.
* He writes in plain and accessible language.
* He avoids religious wars which alienate people. 

In this industry that's worth a lot, as evidenced by the community that's gathered here.  Obviously we're not here to fawn over his writing, but almost all of us found the place through his writing in the first place.

So how long do you figure one of his full-size articles takes?  Of course it depends on how fast he writes, but I'd guess an article would take 5-10 hours to create including editing.

As Brad said, if Joel writes because he LOVES to write, there really is no cost.  While you're watching a movie or reading a book, he's writing.  When you think about it, there are many hours in the day, and it's all about the choices you make.  Perhaps writing is Joel's hobby.


Thursday, April 3, 2003

And he keeps writing over time.

given that:

there are: 365 days a year
and this may be going for 5 years
and taking 10 articles a year

this leads to 50 articles (quite a bunch)
each being written in 36.5 calendar days each (don't get me started with 366 days years ;-) ).

I (try to) write some articles and training materials myself. What I can tell is that it's not easy to write but that every single article can be used as a reference and over time leads to more and more conceptual integration in my brain.

I could say that it is like levels of mastery:

1) I don't know that I don't know (uncounscious incompetence) [ before the course ]

2) I know that I don't know (conscious incompetence) [during the course]

3) I have to think about what I know to apply it (consciuos competence) [applying the course data and building up skill]

4) I do it without thinking about it (inconscious competence) [after having done it for a while, explaining it to others]

5+) Inventing new stuff and relating to other fields, making links (towards mastery) [new things, educated guesses, breakthroughs in the field, full productivity, will to tell the word to others, able to run a biz centered on the subject matter and having people follow you as a natural leader]

I guess that Joel is at 5+.

This is maybe why the tone of the articles has changed some months ago, shifting from pure IT ground towards a more integrated view on strategy, office space etc.

Philippe Back
Friday, April 4, 2003

And he really doesn't write that much. I figure he averages an article every week or two. So an hour a night and you have a good article. The marketing benefits of the articles speak for themself and input from readers help him tweak his ideas and implement them.

Friday, April 4, 2003

If a CEO has hired the right people and has the right processes in place, then his/her job becomes pretty much 50-75% sales - networking, looking for opportunities, guiding the company strategically, closing. is a sales tool, so when he's writing he's doing his job. :-)


Friday, April 4, 2003

I'm wondering if the likes being called a tool ;-)

Friday, April 4, 2003

You ain't seen nuthin' yet.  Check out Tom Kyte's site at

He works for Oracle, writes books, and answers a dozen questions a day.  And still finds time to see his kids.

T. Norman
Friday, April 4, 2003

It should take an hour a night for *two to three weeks* to write an article the size of Joel's?

Any of the writers I know could write an article like Joel's -- assuming they had similar experience, of course -- in a couple of hours, including plenty of fact-checking and revisions.

Brent P. Newhall
Friday, April 4, 2003

I think trollbooth was just pointing out that joel's output isn't necessarily super-human. I've read a number of books about screenwriting, and good screenwriters write about 2-3 pages a day, given 4 hours of writing per day...which is equivalent to one screenplay every three months.

Friday, April 4, 2003

As with development, the mechanics are the least difficult part. Having ideas that are worth of wide-spread discussion is much harder than writing a couple thousand words once you have the topic. :) And, also like development, the best part is removing all the unnecessary fluff. Anybody can go on and on about a topic, but it takes a special writer to be concise yet effective about it.

And, for what it's worth, very few people in ANY medium write like Joel does. He has an excellent style.

Brad (
Friday, April 4, 2003

Maybe he just has no inner monologue. ;)

And the horse you rode in on
Monday, April 7, 2003

I recall seeing an interview with a pair of screenwriters who said they'd get up in the morning, they'd then have one write five pages while the other proofread the last five done, then they'd swap over, and then they'd go down the pub. On a good day they'd have the ten pages done by mid-morning, but it never took longer than lunchtime. A screenplay is 100 pages so they'd do one every fortnight... they reckoned they needed to sell one of their 20 or so a year to live and seemed to be hitting that mark...

It seems like a nice life.

It's a shame I don't get to do the days work and then go home, cos I'd be done by about lunchtime then as well...

Katie Lucas
Monday, April 7, 2003

[Any of the writers I know could write an article like Joel's -- assuming they had similar experience, of course -- in a couple of hours, including plenty of fact-checking and revisions. ]

I was pointing out that it is not super human to write an article and I think you helped drive that point home.

That being said I think Joel writes superb articles and if he can get them done in 5 minutes then more power to him.

Monday, April 7, 2003

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