From time to time (ok, everyday) we are speaking about everything with cup of coffee with colleagues of mine at work. From time to time (now it’s right usage of that sentence) we are speaking about technical stuff around us. And as we are all developers, there are plenty of things. After several discussions I realized that we are speaking about things that we are not expert in and we are messing each other with not true stuff often. And in my eyes it’s often triggered by many articles read by us day after day.
Reading is bad?
Well, you could think reading is not as bad, you are continuously improving yourself by adding awareness about various technologies which can lead to feeling “when it’s time to make a technology decision, I’ll be prepared” for example. That’s just wrong. You will be never prepared enough. You will forget to most of stuff you read. When decision time will come, things will change, technologies will die, libraries will be canibalized by others.
Often I have a feeling that I have to read whole internet because one article trigger interest in another one and I have 5 more articles to read in no time. Then after hour of reading I have to return back to real work with no chance to apply anything which I recently read. And if I am lucky I’ll remember one technology or approach from whole bunch of articles. But in majority of time just one and only her name. Bad luck.
Reading too much articles is increasing my fear also. I have a fear that everybody are just more clever than me because they produced so nicely looking and readable articles. Reading increasing my fear that I’ll be never able to learn everything cool. It’s increasing fear that I’ll never be able to produce something like these cool articles so instead of creating something or writing of own article I am spending my time with preparing for doing. And that’s a nightmare which I don’t need in my life anymore. I was thinking about my technical blog for more than two years without one line actually written. I was building castles in the air about usability my articles, writing about exciting cutting edge technologies, in my eyes I was just blogging superstar. But then comes to reality. When I started thinking about what will be my first article I was typing something to google after a while and getting inspired because no invention of course. Often I was thinking about technology for my blog, graphics, researching right cool platform, how to do a marketing and looking at others blogs. Spending time with that was just waste of time. Also Internet is full of example of good and bad writers and mistake was to read only the good ones. I realized that I am not good enough to produce in similar quality ad postpone my first article for every evening and for 2 years in fact. I didn’t reckognize that authors of such great blogs started at the beginning as well. Their first articles wasn’t successful, wasn’t so good as current.
One evening miracle happen. With couple of beers inside I was brave enough (or angry enough to my lack of confidence) to start writing something (important was that I was not thinking too much). Next morning I checked it and it was not so bad. After two more hours article has had 6 paragraphs. Good, but still I was not convinced that quality of the article is sufficient to publish. Next evening after another couple of beers I was just angry to my perfectionism (and fear) about technicals and graphics, found first blogging platform in google results, in the minute created profile and published my article. And that was it. Of course I had a fear of bad reputation, no audience and so on but after a while I wrote 8 articles and had 3000 of unique readers. And right now I realized that it’s much more satisfying to produce something than to consume. And reading is consuming as everything else.
So I made a decision to create no more mess in my brain with stuff which I currently I am not able to think enough, work out, apply in current project or just use in any other manner.
And I decided that I’ll more write and less read even when my articles haven’t such quality which I was originally thinking. But there are (I hope) improvements article from article and I am looking forward to first discussion entry (next challenge).
How to achieve it
I tried to have fixed time for reading but I was somehow forced to skip paragraphs to read more and more things. With this approach I was rarely able to absorb any of stuff I read. Then I tried to have two hours with technologies at some evening in week but after first evening it was boring because it was too much prescribed to reading and I was not enjoying it at all. And with random reading it was just creating the pain described above. After a while I converged to one technical article for reading per day. Such article have to be well choosen, have to have value for me, I’ll be able to use it in incoming days and it isn’t about soft skills, motivation and success. So I have a stack of well articles in my pocket and when it’s time to enjoy the reading (I have special coffee for it) I am just enjoying it, trying to apply it on some problem, work out or do whatever but by own hands. Of course sometimes the choice is not as good or useful so my criteria are changing to find out better articles. And of course I am not speaking about reading articles needed for learning something. On recent weekend I was writing my first Python script (just to explore that language, community and landscape) in my life so firstly I read some useful articles for beginners to have first insights.
Procrastination is bad, we all know that. With reading of technical stuff we are thinking that we are enhancing ourselves but it’s a lie. It’s procrastination defensible by our brain. But with all added mess and no added value it seems to be more valuable even just do nothing and occasionally just do thinking. I decided to not increasing mess and fear that I am not good for writing about technologies also. Instead of the reading I am writing. Simple, not? So just close this tab in your browser and start doing anything! (ok, or you can read something else from me as well).
P.S. If you enjoyed reading this blog post, could you do me favor and tweet it or/and leave a comment? Thanks!