Staring Down the Barrel of the Pen

I’ve had a series of blog posts brewing in my head for the last month or so. I think they could be really interesting (or at least unique), but I just haven’t had time to pursue them with the intensity I’d like to devote; lately I’ve taken the BBST Bug Advocacy course, have been preparing a brown bag to share said course with my coworkers, traveling for work, learning and practicing Ruby and Selenium, and, well, enjoying the summer (read: surviving the heat). The blog has just had to sit quietly and wait its turn for my attention over the last two months.

(You buying any of that malarkey?)

Me neither.

It’s easy to blame my lack of production on a lack of time, but there’s always time for the things you really want to do, and I really do want to write and I really do want to try these ideas. But I’m afraid.


No, really. It’s the most honest explanation I can come up with. I’m afraid to sit down and start writing because I might get four lines in and realize it’s awful and that the whole concept won’t work. Or I might write the whole first post and decide it’s awful, then hear from readers that they agree.

Good ideas can be paralyzing. Like a countertop full of tempting ingredients, a good idea can make my mouth water while it’s still unformed in my mind, but I know there’s a chance that, when I put everything together and bake it, what comes out of the oven might taste like cat vomit. This is where folks will say things like, “You can’t succeed if you don’t try,” “Failure is the best way to learn,” or “Just write!” But how often are those glib sentiments actually motivating for writers (or any other person working on something creative)? How often do they actually address the legitimate fear of filling a blank page with garbage? How often do Homer Simpson’s words seem to ring much truer? “Trying is the first step towards failure.”


Ok, let’s regroup. Sometimes it helps to take baby steps. I’m not ready to try my special series of blog posts? Then I’ll write a post about why that might be. Next time, another toddle: Perhaps a post about seeing a project through a programmer’s eyes.

(After that?)

Hey. What did I just say about baby steps?

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