How I Write My Posts and Why I'm Not Going To

 

How I Write My Posts and Why I'm Not Going To

Back in August last year I’ve decided to start writing posts one way or another related to software development. I wanted to talk about writing code, about the challenges of moving jobs, about curious terms or interesting/useful concepts, about handy books. I also wanted my posts to be regular. I don’t like half-assing things, so I established a routine for making them.

The Routine

The first step is obvious - find an interesting subject. It might sound like an overwhelming task in its own right, but in my experience, the more subjects you investigate - the more interesting stuff you come across. I found that ever since I started writing my posts, my collection of things I’d like to write about expanded from modest 3 points to a list of twenty items and counting. I get new ideas when I’m reading software-related news, posts on /r/programmerhumor, working on personal projects or simply working. So the initial step of finding an interesting subject for a post frequently involves opening my notebook and looking through the list of things that I compiled over time.

The next step involves doing a bit of research and is usually done on a Friday evening. Let’s take the last post as an example. I knew I wanted to make a ‘game’ that will display tweets. So I compiled a list of Twitter libraries that I can use, narrowed it down to a couple, and gave some thought to the general ‘game’ structure that I’d have to have. It usually takes about an hour or so and by the time this step is done - I already have some sort of an idea of what I will be doing the next day.

Saturdays are usually coding-heavy. Using the knowledge from the day before - I spend four-five hours coding up a solution, testing it and tidying it up. If it’s a big-ish project - it might steal some or all of the next Sunday too. But if it doesn’t…

Sundays are for learning lessons and doing a write-up. I pick out important and/or interesting (hopefully they’re the same thing) parts of the dev process from the day before, try to find main points that made me change my assumptions or proved them correct. The text doesn’t need to be perfect - the structure might be all over the place, typos, mistakes, etc. This part usually takes a couple of hours.

An hour or so on a Monday evening is dedicated to going through the written text a couple of times to restructure it, tidy it up; to read it out-loud a few times to make sure it flows well.

I use Tuesday evenings to give the text one last thoughtful look and come up with an idea for a drawing for it. Then I actually do the drawing. Drawing on several layers of paper gives me an opportunity to try different arrangements of the drawings. I take a whole bunch of pictures of the arrangements, then open up my trusty Photoshop, pick the picture I like the most and format it (colour correction, rotation, resizing).

Finally, the text and the image are pushed to git late Tuesday evening. I give the post a quick glimpse on my website (instead of Eclipse, where I usually write it) to make sure I didn’t screw up the formatting.

Wednesday around noon I give the post a quick last glimpse and share it on Facebook and LinkedIn. Done.

Thursdays are for chilling.

Why Stop

As you might’ve noticed - the whole process takes time and effort. Without a doubt, I gain from it, since I’m either learning new things, or get a deeper understanding of things I already knew as I write about them (sort of a rubber duck experience). However, having weekly posts also implies that the posts should be self-contained (I really-REALLY don’t like splitting posts into parts), which means that it only works for small projects. And boy do I want to jump onto a massive project.

There, of course, is also the question of free time or lack thereof. Like most people, I spend around 8.5 hours at work (and 2 hours travelling to and fro); I also spend about forty minutes a day on brainHQ, roughly thirty minutes with duolingo, about an hour with yousician, occasionally try to tidy up the draft of my fiction book, as well as read books. There is literally not enough time.

Now, I’m not convinced that the best solution is to stop writing posts altogether, but they will have to become more sparse and will be posted at irregular intervals now. Hopefully, that’ll make them better thought out and have them talk about bigger, swankier projects.

In the meantime, thanks for spending your time on reading my posts (honestly, thank you) and if you’ve enjoyed them so far - the blog page has an RSS button, so you don’t have to keep your eye on social media for my updates. If there’s a post you’ve particularly enjoyed - let me know, it will make me feel warm and fuzzy inside; if there’s one that you hate with blinding rage, that interferes with your sleep and makes you grind your teeth - you’re weird, but do let me know regardless.