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.
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.”
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.