NT3R

A blog that needs work

Do something everyday

I'm not one to toot my own horn, but I may have covered this before. Please, bear with me, as I feel it necessary to reiterate the point.

Originally, I was going to call this Why you should do something everyday, but today I'm taking the imperative approach instead.

Do something every day. Take five minutes, half-an-hour, hours, it doesn't matter to me how much time you take, just do something every day. What consitutes something? I'm not too picky. When I set out to do something, I usually write a blog post, make a commit to a project I'm working on, or work on a story or campaign that's been mulling about in my head.

Not compelled eh? What if I write it in big, huge letters?

DO SOMETHING EVERYDAY!

...

Still nothing?

Alright, on with the why! Starting with the 'small' stuff.

Feels good man

Hey, let's not underestimate how good... feeling good is. Seriously though, when working on something, you should feel good, or at least feel accomplished. Otherwise, why are you doing it?

Sure, lots of things feel good (video games, sex, etc.), but it isn't often that you can feel good and feel accomplished unless you just managed to get some super hard achievement... or are trying to make a baby, I guess.

The point is, doing something feels good man, so do something!

All the 'small' things

You're a smart person, otherwise, you wouldn't be reading this blog! Well, you're probably a smart person, and I'm not sure why you read this blog, but that's besides the point...

Imagine that someone offered you $100, or $0.01, but double that amount every day for a month. Which would you take?

What's that? You've heard that one before? You know math? I'm trying to make a point here!

Obviously, you ought to pick the penny deal, and the penny deal, in this case, is analagous to doing something every day. Even if you don't put a lot of time into doing something, every day, as you add more to that something, that something builds into something better than the previous day, and so on, until someday, you've made something great.

This time last year, I was working on a crappy script to check hotel availability. At the time, it did a poor job of checking availability of a single hotel. Now, it does six or seven hotels, and its easy to add new hotels.

Working on something a little bit adds up in the long run.

Learn something new, try something new

I am not the most adventurous person in the world, and some would say I'm pretty set in my ways. I would say that some people shouldn't say such mean things, but then I wouldn't get to make straw man arguments.

However, when I work on something, something for me; not for work, or anything else I'm obligated to do; I can try something new. Write a novel in a month? How hard can that be? Make a proton-pack for Halloween? What do you mean spray paint dissolves polystyrene!? Write a blog every week? I GET IT GUYS, I'M NOT PERFECT.

When you take the time to work on something, you don't generally have any constraints. You can try something you've never tried before, and probably learn a lot too. You don't need to worry about failure; why do that? You learn from failure. Embrace the failures.

Practice leads to mastery

"Oh, but I'm only putting in a few hours a week on this something".

So, what?

There's a popular (and potentially true) idea floating around called the 10 000-Hour rule where mastery requires 10 000 hours of effort. Even if you don't believe the number of hours, it shouldn't come as any suprise that the only way to improve is via doing things, that act of practising.

Did anyone great get to be where they are by doing nothing? Do great musicians and artists rise to ... um, greatness ... by not practicing? Hell no.

As much I would attempt to go at length about practice and mastery, a Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic speaks to the matter in a way more profound way than I ever could. So, you go on and read that and come back here; I'm not going anywhere.

Doing things matters

It doesn't matter what you make. It could be a novel, an application, a piece of art, a business, a t-shirt, a cake, whatever. Doing things matters. Every thing you learn, everything you apply, everything you create matters.

When I look at job candidates (that's right folks; stealth job post), I don't really care about their resume. What I really want to know about what those folks have done, what they've accomplished, what they've made. I'm probably not the only one who things that resumes are a stupid way to show off our accomplishments...

What's that you say? I don't have anything to show off?

Oh ho ho, but you do. What about that something you've been working on?

"Oh my yes! Thank you so much! I never realized I had it in me all along."

Enough with the strawmen! In all seriousness, that something you made matters. For example, if your something was...

  • a blog, then you've got all sorts of skills and talents you can show off. Analytical ability, writing and editing, maybe even marketing and design to make your blog look great and to attract readership;
  • an online roleplay, then you have all the work you did creating / finding a community, managing everyone's writing schedules, or coordinating everyone getting together, maybe setting up a server with a website and forum;
  • a piece of art, or something geeky you've knit, like a hat which you used to start an etsy store before you got to learn a lot about copyright

And those are just a few examples that I fabricated! Sure, some things matter more than others (e.g. started a business, wrote an app, etc.), and, I'll admit, it's not easy taking some things and making them matter (for example, your erotic Star Trek fanfic where Kirk is a furry, and... I've said too much) but you've got something damn it, and you can show it off!

In summary...

Do something everyday.

That is all.

Nicholas Terwoord

A self-titled software developer, "code archaeologist" (whatever that means), and professional geek. Spends too much of his time coming up with new projects, and not enough time working on them. Likes video games, board games, anime, manga, and Pathfinder / Dungeons and Dragons (GOTO: Line #1 - Geek).

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