Is this thing on? Really? Oh. Hello.
Last year, I was dumb enough to make a new years resolution via a tweet. I promised myself and the world that I would create more, complain less and start blogging. I was personally in a rut that I wanted to break out of, and for the first time in a while had the feeling that I needed to write to focus and formulate thoughts into coherent pieces, not just that I wanted to write because, you know, it’s cool to tinker with your own site and if you’re a web professional, you really should have a blog.
The tweet was a reaction not only to my own thoughts, but also to a discussion that was going on among some people on Twitter, about the role of blogging.
Now, since some of the same people that were having the discussion on Twitter are friends of mine, my simple tweet about my thoughts was retweeted by some folks with a lot of followers. Since I’m only periodically an active tweeter and mostly just try too hard to be funny, I almost never get retweets from more than one or two people. This time around, I think almost 100 people retweeted my thoughts. As I had just installed a new Twitter client and despite my best intentions had not been able to successfully shut off audio notifications, my phone started sounding like a pinball machine on acid. Fascinating!
This frantic burst of activity made it feel as if the simple sentences I had written, mainly aimed towards myself, was seen by the whole world. This time I would have to make good on my promise.
Stop tinkering for a second, and besides, screw fear.
I’ve been sort‐of‐almost blogging before, in little drips here and there. Sometimes I write on our company blog. I once had a tumblr with a couple of posts on it. But that was pretty much it. Ever since I started working full time as a web developer, I just cobbled away, feet bare.
There are a couple of explanations as to why, as I see it. One of them is fear, in the form of a little voice in your head. Fear of saying stuff other people have already said better than I ever can. Fear of failing. Fear of not producing the best code I’ve ever written, for what is to be my personal site and, in my own head, the place where other developers go to view source. Then they point and laugh whilst they effortlessly and in a few hours create a web app written entirely in their own fork of server-side CoffeeScript and with layers upon layers of preprocessors and only 2K of CSS with staggering visual results. Or something.
Having participated in lots of discussions, attended events such as Indie Web Camp and read tons of blog posts and articles, where fear of failure has been a part of the subject, I somewhere along the line felt "Fuck it. I don’t want to pay any more attention to that feeling". So I made a decision to be more open, and perhaps more brave. Bottom line: this place is gonna have warts.
I repainted half of that bike shed so many times this year, and produced absolutely nothing. So I decided to let some of it go: I picked a CMS and went with it. It’s taken some wrestling to bend it to my will, but after a couple of days of fiddling here and there, it works fine. I’ve spent a couple of hours styling it at the time of writing this, and I don’t expect to spend much more until I have launched the damn thing and hammered out a few posts. Let the tinkering come later: this machine publishes simple web documents, and I don’t need all that much to do it.
Initially, I set aside some time to finish this site during the Christmas holidays, so I could make good on my resolution to start blogging before the end of the year. Then I got some form of Noro virus over Christmas, and emerged from that headed straight into the sneezy embrace of a proper cold. So new years came and went, and no blog. But who has ever kept a new years resolution, right? And besides, one of the things that I promised myself lately, albeit silently, is to not be too hard on myself. Fuck resolutions. But I still needed that blog.
So here we are. Hopefully, I’ll start filling this place with posts about web development techniques, tips, reflections on workflow, process, methodology, best practices… But I have a hunch there will also be a few more posts on the emotional aspects of doing what we do. Because I kept the other parts of my resolution: I feel like I have been complaining less, and creating more. That means not just to "shut up and work", but to stop when something doesn’t feel right, take a step back and raise your voice about how you actually want to work—not to complain but to create change.
Look at that. Many words on a page. Wasn’t that hard. Maybe I do have something to say after all.
PS. There’s also a drawing of me as a ballerina, with unicorns!