I love writing.

Except when I hate it.

When people ask what I do for a living, I almost never say ‘writer’. I’m an analyst, who occasionally dabbles as a tech journalist, but pumps out more words in typical a year than many professional writers.

When the muse is in my corner and the words flow smooth and swift like molten chocolate (sorry, need dessert), the process is incredibly gratifying. I can sometimes pop off a thousand words an hour and walk away deeply satisfied, with perhaps some light editing.

That doesn’t really happen a lot since I had kids.

More often I plan out a wonderful schedule with plenty of leisure time to settle into the words, build my story (because even tech pieces are stories), and enlighten readers with my content and wit. Then I don’t sleep, I lose a couple days to sick kids or other randomness, and hope beyond hope I can snag a few hours in a coffee shop, pace my caffeine intake perfectly, and maybe, just maybe, finish up before my deadline is so far past that the client forgets my name.

Writing on deadline is tough – especially when family, illness, and the ongoing needs of running a business continually conspire to interfere with any plans. It doesn’t help to be a genetic procrastinator of such accomplishment that, in your formal college record, there is a note saying, “don’t cut him any breaks, he manipulates the system too much”. (It’s true – I saw the note in my physical file).

Take this Summary. I am writing it in a hotel room in Toronto after a really rough couple weeks defined by illness (my own and one of my kids), right after a rough couple months going back to the holidays. There have been ear infections, stomach bugs, general sniffles, and 9-day fevers. I two stomach bugs 6 weeks, once on the day I needed to fly out to teach a cloud security class.

Somehow, through all this, I managed to nail my target deadlines on the Future of Security series, a non-security article for a new publication (for me), and complete a good chunk of my RSA planning. I owe two different conferences four presentations (total), need to launch 2 papers in the next week, and add two more modules to my RSA demo code (overkill, but I would really like to pull it off).

But I wouldn’t really have it any other way. Oh sure, I’d like less pressure, but look what I get to do on a daily basis… And running at this pace for so long has turned me into an honest-to-gosh writer, even outside the technology domain. I have written for The Magazine and soon The Loop – not even on security or technology! I was paid to tell stories, and that is deeply satisfying. And while I can’t say everything I write for Securosis excites me equally, some of my recent work has been very rewarding.

I never set out to be a writer. And while I have no intention of writing the Great American Novel, I feel pretty lucky to get paid to write words read by thousands. It’s pretty special, and never something I take for granted.

Even tonight. Locked in a sparse hotel room with a sniffly nose and an early wakeup call. I do, however, have cookies.

On to the Summary:

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Favorite Securosis Posts

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No Comment of the Week this time – sorry.