There is something magical about describing something into existence

Image by Paulo Colacino

It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t done it.

She asked me how I can take the boredom of just sitting there writing instructions to a computer for hours.

“Don’t you ever just want to scream?”

If I was writing a novel, she’d get it. It’s romantic even… the image of the reclusive writer weaving stories and directing characters through arcs of conflict and resolution, forever tumbling toward that final page.

A musician iterating through melodies, alone at his instrument; he concentrates and creates.

An artist with a chisel or a brush.

The power broker looking out the window at the city writhing beneath him.

We create alone. Eyes fixed on our tools and the task before us.

But for some reason, it’s suddenly boring when the tool is a computer and the result is a stilted prose describing what you build if your brain was made of lego.

Sure, it can be excruciating when the code you’re writing is boilerplate. When you’re not solving problems so much as serving as an amanuensis to the status quo.

If you’re a certain kind of coder those are the days you devote to creatively scripting the banality out of your life.

However, the days that you get to make something new are a different story.

It’s those days when it is a delight to dive deep. You get to look at the backside of the problem. Your job is not to duck but to dig. You think about things in new ways. You chop things up into buckets and then suddenly realize that you brought the wrong buckets.

It’s on those days you get to say, “I wrote my thoughts down and they worked.”

Lance Cameron Kidwell

3 August 2011

Posted in Coding, zen

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  1. This could almost be described as “coding: doing something banal to escape banality”!  ;-)

    Peter Monks

    3 August 2011 at 11:16 pm


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