Back into the flow

I’ve been in a real creative slump lately, by which I’m referring to the last 24 months or so.

Writing in particular has been a challenge for me. Any time I sit down at a computer and try to write something I draw a blank. On a few occasions I’ve tried to stick at it and work through it but its never turned out anything coherent.

I attribute this creative block to my job. I found myself spending my time writing teaching plans and english GCSE essays. The GCSE essays were stressful because I’m a obsessive perfectionist when it comes to that kind of thing, and the teaching plans were just exhausting generally because I’ve never done anything like that before.

Over the summer I spent very little time in doing any work-like tasks at all. It was a very busy summer of other activities.

I’m still working currently, all be it part time. I’ll be leaving this job in a few months and going to full time teacher trainee. University is all wrapped up as well I’m basically just waiting around for graduation. So aside from a bunch of indie projects that I have on the go my stress levels and work load are both pretty low.

Hopefully now, with a little determination on my part I can’t start exercising my atrophied writing muscles again and get back to the plan I had for this website which is more on the educational and professional experience sharing side of things.

Shiny and new

Here I am with my brand new website. This website is going to be my new development blog as well as my test bed for a lot of the related web work and other experiments that I might want to do.

Why you ask? Because I started my placement this week and encountered an amount of web development that I don’t feel qualified for. With only a vague outline of what my new job might entail I have spent the last couple of weeks brushing up on my web acronyms, HTML PHP CSS DW WP and web design concepts. Without much to go on the review has been lazy and largely unproductive, then over the weekend I got the idea of creating my own website incorporating some of the tools that I knew I’d be using to help get myself back into the swing of things. I’ve been planning to set up my own website for some time now and this seems like the perfect excuse. So I made the decision and with the help of a friend go it set up. Now the more I look into the management of this website the more I realise just how much things have changed. I may be in over my head.

My web skills are rusty to say the least. I haven’t done any real web related work in twelve years, and even that couldn’t be considered anything close to professional. It was me setting up and maintaining an apache web server on a static IP that I had and my graphic artist roommate putting up 5mb flash animations. Then I used some of the management tools to monitor and hack the rest of my roommates. Good times.

So here goes nothing. I’m using WordPress to do the bulk of the design while I examine and rework some of the inner workings. Wish me luck

Not Smart Enough for the Room

I recently attended a group meet. The group is a pack of programmers from around the county that meet up every month and discuss issues and industry and so on. Each meet they decide on a small project together and work through it. This project can be anything from Programming Kata ideas to a full blown development project.

This appealed to me right from the start. It’s a chance to associate with people in the industry, do a little networking and maybe learn a little something. The meet isn’t that far from me a few of my lecturers attend and have been encouraging me to, so I decided to go.

I can honestly say that I’ve never felt so intellectually inferior in my life. Some of these guys are the people that the people I look up to, look up to. Every time I spoke up I regretted it almost instantly. My input was lagging and often needless, responded to with blank stares and patient slowly spoken sentences. I’m pretty sure that everyone in the room actually started dumbing down the language toward the end.

One of the highlights of the evening was when a team member from a company that had recently declined me for a placement came in. This team member then proceeded to talk about the poor quality of programmers they have had applying this year, my interview was even brought up as one such example.

By the end of the night I was drained and depressed. I felt like such an ameteur and well, like an idiot. Unworthy of referring to myself as a member of their industry.

I’m going to keep attending. I’m aware that I’m naturally very paranoid and have never been very good with those types of situations. I’d like to think that soon I’ll do better and that’s not going to happen if I run away screaming due to my own insecurities. I am just a student after all and all of these guys are seasoned veterans. They all seemed like genuine, nice, very smart people and I think in the long run it will be good for me on a number of levels. In fact, I learned a lot while I was there. I’m a big believer that if you truly want to get better at anything, spending as much time as possible with the masters is the best way. Coming away from the meeting feeling 2 inches tall is just an indication that I’ve still got a lot to learn. I’m going to be coming home from the meets with a lot of homework for quite a while.