There's still the work to be done01 May 2014
The reviews on Amazon can range from interesting to fake, from sad to hysterical, and from useless to very insightful. One review for a book called Art & Fear struck a chord:
“I agree that this is a very clearly, respectfully, and unpretentiously written book that can serve as a companion to any artist. Making art can otherwise be a lonely, daunting undertaking. My concern for readers of this book…is that it can be a pacifier. If it gets you to your work sooner and with greater courage and confidence, all the better. But if it substitutes for the process itself—makes you feel better but does not get you ‘working’—then it’s something to pick up but let go of. There’s a growing genre of books like this out there… The sage advice gets recycled, as do the homilies from famous people. And again, that’s fine, as long as they get us to a place where we are working with more energy and joy, but perhaps not so fine if the internal process becomes more interesting than the art-making. Did you paint today? No. But I reread passages of Art & Fear…”
“Paint” could just as easily be write, or code, or design, or any other productive (creative) endeavor and the point still holds:
Did you write code today? No. But I re-watched two Crockford videos.
Did you write a blog post today? No. But I re-tweeted a ton of cool links.
Did you analyze the data from last week? No. But I found a repo of Sublime Text key bindings and now I’m 64% more efficient with the code I’m not writing.
Did you write code today? No. But I watched @paul_irish school me on the secrets of the dev tools and now I can set breakpoints and use source maps like a ninja.
Did you write that documentation today? No. But I added 5 cool articles to my Read
Never Later list.
“If it gets you to your work sooner and with greater courage and confidence, all the better.” People talk about learn-to-code / don’t-learn-to-code, or even learning a complex software package, and when “the internal process becomes more interesting than the art-making”, it’s time to shut off Twitter, close the books and struggle through the code—RTFM and all.
Stack Overflow, blogs, and reference books are convenient and helpful to get started, answer specific questions, and demonstrate examples. But more often than not, I see people get caught up in these resources to the point of distraction. And as the anonymous reviewer says, “there’s still the work to be done…”
Mind the gap. Avoid the rabbit holes. One thing at a time.
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. — Thomas A. Edison