Writing Again

Blogging Inspirations

Since I started at 3Pillar Global over a year ago, I feel an overwhelming sense of freedom and a strong desire to learn & share with others in the community. It has been wonderful this past year & I appreciate it more because I wasn’t allowed or able to do this at some previous work places. My trusting nature actually led me to one place where months later I found out my contract even had it fine print that anything I did outside of work related in any way to software development belonged to them.

I love that I can pair program on my lunch hour or speak at a conference on a topic I am interested in. More than that, 3Pillar encourages, promotes, and support it. Although I speak at meetups & conferences, co-host & manage The Web Platform Podcast (@TheWebPlatform), and co-organize a monthly developer hangout,  I rarely write blog posts anymore. It is strange to me that I don’t write as much because it one of the most effective ways to distribute searchable information.  I keep starting to write some posts and then I never complete them.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing two incredible developer thought leaders on the podcast. Pam Selle (@pamasaur) who writes on The Webivore and Chris Storm (@eee_c), who writes on japh(r) both are amazing leaders in the development community and incredible content authors. Inspired by them, I’ve decided to start writing again. In the past blogging has taken up an exorbitant amount of time and has yielded me very little content in return based on that effort. I hope to write more often now and I hope to become better at it.

Japh(r)

Every day I can expect a new post from Chris on Polymer, Dart, or some project he is tinkering on. Every single day I see the notifications on Google+, Twitter, and Email on new posts. I used to find it amazing how he found the time for it all. It wasn’t until I spoke with him about blogging that I realized writing for him is an integral part of his own personal development process. Despite the fact that his content is so relevant, current, and useful to me in my own explorations of the these topics, they are primarily for his benefit and not for the community first. Chris is far from a selfish person. On the contrary, I believe this is the great approach to writing in many ways.

Based on the many posts I’ve read, Chris is interested in many complex & ever changing development topics. On the idea of being referred to as an “expert”,  Chris has said “Someday I will give this more thought, but I think things change too quickly to become what is traditionally considered an expert. I like to think of myself as an advanced beginner in all things who is getting good at asking and answering the necessary questions” I like the term “Advanced Beginner” and always keeping an open mind because technology changes so quickly. We can allow ourselves to “unlearn what you have learned”, as the mighty Jedi legend Yoda once said,  and immerse ourselves in the joys of discovery with an open mind and heart. the challenge in this is that we rarely have a structure to learn with and it is easy to lose interest, become stagnant, or become overwhelmed by stress. Chris has created an interesting process to alleviate this.

He has set achievable long & short term timelines & goals for himself similar to Agile development project planning. Every night Chris has time set aside that other developers who want to pair program can help him on the ICE Editor Github Project which is primarily intended to help kids code JavaScript. These pairing sessions are usually an hour long and rarely yield content for his blog but occasionally they assist his posts related to Polymer mostly because the editor uses Dart and Custom Elements.

Chris’s writings are honest, fresh in his mind, and detailed. He isn’t going to write a post just because some ‘hot topic’ is what other developers want to hear. Second, because he is writing every every night, his posts are usually very short, small scoped, and easy to follow. His posts tend to build on each other, providing small explorations that lead to large discoveries and usually get rolled into a larger compilation or book later on. By Chris taking the initiative and time to become an “Advance Beginner” in these areas & chronicle his own work the community benefits as well in that he has made his research public and accessible to us, the community at large.

The Webivore

Pam Selle is also a very regular & honest writer. She writes how she feels and says what she likes as she likes it and I can really appreciate that as a reader. Pam’s writing is similar to Chris’s in that she writes a lot what is happening in her work life. Her approach is a bit more raw an not as research focused.

What I really like about Pam’s blog is that I never know what to expect except that it will be honest and uncensored. As a reader, she makes you feel as if you’ve known her for a long time. Many posts will be short and informational on events Pam is attending which is good to see, but I also really like the gems like her post “My Problem with Pairing“. This is a very short read and it tells a story with emotion and it makes me think about my own experiences pairing. I love this post. When I can read something like this and days later I’m still thinking about it, spawning questions and churning with related ideas, I begin appreciate it even more. After reading this and listening the Turing Incomplete podcast episode on pairing I was thinking about why I don’t write as much anymore.

Perhaps in writing shorter, more focused posts that are published more frequently I can make it a habit and work towards becoming a better “Advanced Beginner”.