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30 Failures in 30 Days

I like writing, I like programming, I like writing about programming. So why haven't I been blogging?

You have to understand that I did not always enjoy writing. The key, as is so often the case, lies in the brain of my eight-year-old self.

I had been reading intensively since I was 4, and the first few times I tried to put a story down on paper were absolutely horrifying. I could see the vast gulf between what I had produced and what I would be willing to consume, but I didn't have the skills or maturity to bridge that gulf. The constant gold stars and head patting I got in math were much more appealing, so I decided that writing was not a thing I was going to do.

And I was stubborn enough to get away with this for a long time. Teachers don't always like stubborn kids, but they love quiet kids who get excited about books.

Up until grade 10 I bluffed my way into passing english grades without actually handing in any writing. I failed grade 10 english on the first try, squeaked through on the second, and then dropped out, largely to avoid grade 11 english (also death threats and wearing shoes, but those are separate stories. And seriously, it was mostly the english).

I subsequently, with much fury and agony which I'll spare you here, came around to the view that writing was a desirable skill, and, with further fury and agony, managed to acquire it. In particular, I've gotten fairly comfortable with two styles of writing: Very Serious Official Wordage, and talking to friends.

Unfortunately, a programming blog doesn't really fit into either of those categories. Certainly VSOW does not enjoy a lot of respect or admiration in the programming community, and anyhow it's not much fun to write.

But the context is semi-professional - I get the impression that blogs are more important than resumes in some circles. Given that I do plan on looking for a job at some point, it would hardly be appropriate to fill this up with cheesy jokes, obscenity, and moping about my perceived failures (i.e. pretty much everything I do), which rules out about 90% of the writing I inflict on my friends.

Such was my thinking, anyway. It's classic perfectionism:

  • This is an important thing that I value a lot
  • Therefore I should do it perfectly
  • I'm not sure I can do it perfectly
  • Therefore I won't do it at all
  • ???
  • Profit

This chain of thought pops up in my life all the time, and I am constantly trying to smack it down, like a psychological game of whack-a-mole.

So. I am officially giving myself permission to write imperfect blog posts. They can be short, or unpolished, or cheesy, or meandering, or inappropriate, or all of the above. Which is good, because I have decided to post something every day for the month of November.

Every single one of these 30 posts will be a wretched failure, and I hope you enjoy them. I know I will.


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