Writing a book. #WhatIDontKnow #quicktip

The book I’m currently working on is a technical book on Database Application Security. While writing, I frequently find myself trying to explain something and I can’t quite come up with a good explanation. This normally indicates I don’t understand something well enough to explain it; therefore it goes into my “What I don’t know book.” (we can discuss that another day.)

So I’m working on a book, and get stuck. The first thing I do is write down what I don’t know in the form of a question. Case in point, working on the Unified Audit section and I wanted to explain, “how come unified audit does not immediately write to the database, you have to turn immediate write on.” Many years ago, I learned not to go with the first answer that comes to my mind. It may be right, it may be wrong.

To keep me moving forward on the chapter, I could either 1) start researching the answer and wind up going down a rabbit hole. Or 2) I can insert the question into the chapter in the form of a question.

<QUESTION> why does unified audit pause writing to the database? </QUESTION> Then scribble that same question into the notebook I carry with me.

I choose to use #2, because it allows me to stay focused on writing. I can then come back to the question, do my research and get an accurate answer.

Inserting and tagging questions is a great way to keep the focus on the work you are currently doing. You can research later, then maybe talk a walk and ponder just how your are going to answer the question.


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