Jake Pruitt

This is where I write.

← Home


Hello blog, it’s been soooo long, and I’m so sorry for not writing anything for almost a whole year. I’ve been good, I’ve been busy, and above all, I’ve done a really poor job at getting myself to sit down and write.

Writing is really hard, and what makes it even harder is that reading is so easy. It almost never crosses my mind how much time and effort it takes to write the things that I read every day. It’s also incredibly intimidating to write, since so many good writers exist, and I get to read their writing every day. I get to work with them every day. And once you read fantastic writing, it’s very hard to sit down and convince yourself you have anything worth saying.

Now, it’s one thing to give plattitudes about “No such thing as bad writing”, but I think that takes away from people that are incredibly good writers. Since I started working at Mapbox, I’ve read so much fantastic writing like Charlie Loyd’s weekly tinyletter 6, Tom MacWright’s personal/technical blog, Katy DeCorah’s talks and advice on writing, and John Firebaugh’s incredibly thoughtful twitter threads about coding patterns. These amazing people redefined what I thought was good writing, and blew my writing out of the park. I stopped writing for a while because I realized that I am much further from being a good writer than I once thought.

I also realized that I knew very little about the things I was writing. I felt really embarrased that I was claiming any sort of expertise - even after months of writing JavaScript every day I still feel like I write beginner code, and still make so many bad decisions. So I backed away from writing, put it in a corner until I had enough experience to consider myself worth listening to.

But I still don’t have confidence. And I still don’t think I can write very well. I’ve been humbled quite a bit, and I think that’s a good thing. I never got to the point I was hoping, where I would know enough and be a strong enough writer to churn out gorgeous blog posts. I’m getting back into writing now for the same reasons I got into it last year - I have a lot to learn and I want to learn it better. There’s a good quote from a talk by a really smart programmer Ashley Williams:

“Teaching is nature’s way of letting you know how sloppy your understanding is.”

I’m here to learn a lot, because writing is how I learned JavaScript. I want to learn C++, I want to learn Rust, I want to learn OpenGL, and I’m incredibly bad at all of them. I’ve come around again to a part of the learning curve that’s at the bottom of a long uphill climb, and I think the only way to learn this well is to try to write about it.

In the next few weeks I think I’ll take a stab at C++, and you’ll get a heaping portion of my misunderstanding of compilers and one or two antipatterns. Writing is a lot harder than reading, but writing forces you to understand the things that reading let’s you cheat on. It’ll be rough, it’ll be poorly written, but it’ll be worth it.