writing gap, or, alt-control-delete

1 February 2008 (Friday)

Hit ‘alt-control-delete’ to restart this blog, or at least show the running processes. (Actually though, I’m now on a mac, so mostly shouldn’t need to refer to those keys anymore).

I keep re-reading Joel Spolsky (whose last name is not, I discover, “on Software” – not, then, a member of some kind of minor german nobility) emphasizing that good programmers must be good writers. Well, actually when I google for him saying it, I find he actually says:

…years of experience working with programmers have taught me that programmers who can communicate their ideas clearly are going to be far, far more effective than programmers who can only really communicate well with the compiler.

and elsewhere goes so far as to say:

If you’re a software development manager and the people who are supposed to be writing specs aren’t, send them off for one of those two week creative writing classes in the mountains.

I don’t always agree what Joel says but it’s always strongly argued, and he does have a bit of experience. Maybe there’s something to it. Besides, I’ve been experiencing what I might call a writing gap – the gap between feeling I ought to be writing and actually having written something. But that gap (what, in university, would be called an “essay crisis”) has extended for me, for some twenty years – since thinking, in the midst of an essay crisis, that I really didn’t enjoy writing essays, and I would be better off doing something else.

This flight from writing lead me to working in software, where of course the acts of pitching and then speccing (and worse, delivering ‘specs’) necessarily involves much writing, although more and more effective speccing (I discovered) could be done with less and less (although some may beg to differ).

Inevitably, I found myself, like Alice through the looking-glass, getting involved in writing papers.

And above all, I can’t hide in my code – Joel tells me (and he’s so right) that it’s all about communication.

My main aim then, in ‘rebooting’ this blog (kickstarted with the posts from being Technical Director at Soda Creative), is to get myself writing again on subjects that connect my work in software with the world of people – groups, users, other developers. I’m not really worried about the outside audience yet (I’m mostly talking to myself), so don’t be surprised if (by some strange quirk of fate you’ve arrived here) that the posts are in a perhaps rough & ready state.

A word about dates: I’m planning to write things up on this blog, as of the date they were written (in whatever form) – this blog is then a form of record, rather than a publishing medium.

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One Response to “writing gap, or, alt-control-delete”

  1. alex Says:

    First member of the audience is reporting for duty and is looking forward to the things to come!


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