RubyConf 2008: Fear of Programming

Posted in Conferences on December 03, 2008

RubyConf 2008: Fear of Programming

We developers spend a lot of time talking about how to improve technically at our craft, how to write better code, how to be more productive when we're writing code. But what about when we don't feel like coding? What about the emotions that often keep us from putting our fingers on the keyboard and working on that cool library we want to write or finishing up that cool side project we were so fired up about a few weeks ago?

Or to put it another way, why is it that some developers turn out so much more code than the rest of us? How do they maintain five open source projects (or more!) while we might be doing good to make progress on one? It certainly might be that they're smarter, or that they spend more time at it. But maybe not...

Maybe the reason we don't create more is that we're afraid. Afraid of not finishing, afraid of what others will say, afraid we won't know how to solve a problem, afraid that we're not working on the right thing. If creating code is even partly an act of artistry, then it's worth examining our emotional connection with what we're making. It might be time to start realizing that coding productivity is affected as much by our emotional outlook as it is by our technique.

If "fear is the mind-killer", how do we overcome it? How do we get past our fear so we can create something amazing and have a blast doing it? Those are the questions that this talk aims to at least begin answering.

Finally, why is it so important we conquer our fear and go on to create? _why puts it eloquently:

"when you don't create things, you become defined by your tastes rather than ability. your tastes only narrow & exclude people. so create."

About Nathaniel Talbott

  • Wrote test/unit (no tomatoes please).
  • Attended every RubyConf (obvious fanboy).
  • Presented at every RubyConf (a bit compulsive).
  • Founded Terralien (get paid for my passion).
  • Afraid of programming (sometimes).

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Tags: Practices, Conferences, Productivity, Confreaks, RubyConf 2008