Expressing your passion
How many times have you had a dialog like this: I should blog more. Well, what should I blog about? I don't know, but I should blog more. Though I don't want to sound boring, repetitive, or like an idiot.
There are probably two problems at work. First, over thinking a simple problem. Second, finding what you're passionate about and how to best express it.
There are a number of top notch developers who hardly blog, if at all. But when they do, it is pure gold. They speak more with code than on a blog. You don't need jaw dropping libraries or masterpieces, but just useful stuff someone else might want to use or read.
Want to find who the true leaders are? Find prominent people on Github and see what public projects they have. You'll quickly find who is down in the trenches.
Having just gone to CodeMash 2010 last week, I am certainly reinvigorated. Especially after Joe O'Brien's talk on "Refactoring the Programmer". It was really spot on with so many aspects of the developer's lifestyle. Some things I've taken aware include:
- Scale back Twitter. It is a time sink and I rarely learn anything in that time.
- Blogs are great, but scale back what I read. All about finding the most value for the time. Ignore banter and marketing. Find others who show their passion in their writing.
- Write more code. Practice makes perfect. Athletes aren't just naturally talented, they practice and are learning continuously.
- Read more code. Find good leaders, and learn what they've already learned.
- Read more books. And not necessarily on coding, but on improving yourself overall. Happiness comes from improving overall, not just in your profession.
- Go out on limbs. If you put something out there, ask people to check it out and give some honest feedback. If you have a question, seek out an expert and ask them. Be clear in what you're asking, courteous of their time, and you'll likely get your answer.
- Reciprocate. Asking for help is a two way street, so you need to pay it forward. Forming connections goes a lot further than hoarding your time.
My passion is in doing. Nothing makes me happier than hacking away on some random idea until 1-2am. And it is contagious. It bleeds over into all that I do. I put out better work during the day. I'm glad to go to the grocery store before dinner. I'm happier paying my bills. I came out of CodeMash with a whole list of things to hack on and hopefully get even more to keep me invigorated until next year. And hopefully I can throw the ideas out there, get some feedback, and create some value for others.