Balancing Developing and Writing

Lightning over the outskirts of Oradea, Romani...
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It was hard to find that balance for a while as I tried to flush my mind running from job to job and switching gears to often to remember my projects. But there is a balance. I long ago discovered that the mind is a sneaky bitch. Just as soon as you are accomplishing something or when the deadline is approaching and you really have to get work done, you will have the perfect idea for something totally off the wall. But the idea is perfect. Looks perfect. Feels perfect. Is god damn perfect. And off you go and the mind laughs it's evil muhahaha laugh. And again you are sidetracked. Well, over time, I eventually got pretty adept at most of the things I got sidetracked with. But I learned that focus does help but burn out can and will come. The two major parts of what I have set out to do online are writing and developing. I am grouping all types of commenting and social networking with writing and any manual link building or SEO developing. They tend to work from opposite sides of my head. Each side may take control for long extended periods of time after which I make great advances. On the writing side, in bursts of energy, I ride waves of words that just seem right like no other times. Subscribers increase and posts end up at various social networks and get comments and I don't really even try. And when the development side is in full gear, 12 Wordpress installations get knocked out in an afternoon with analytics, plugins, permalinks and everything else waiting and ready for content. And that is without a one click install. But each side will try to rule and try to live without the other, not knowing they are two sides of the same coin. So I have to work in shifts. When it is time to write, I will write post after post as drafts. During days I work, I will edit the drafts I have, read other blogs, comment, do the social networking thing,etc. I still work 4 days a week. I was freelancing because I thought that was somehow making me closer to escaping the day job, but it actually just gave me more micro day jobs. I get to work an hour or two before I start there and get my stuff knocked out. On Friday and the weekend, until Sunday evening when I make sure posts are ready, it will either be a writing weekend or a developing weekend and that depends on what is more in demand. Developing is rude and will interrupt writing if a site goes down or something similar. I sometimes wonder if developing leaves bugs in for job security. There have been mixed weekends but they don't turn out very productive. And now that I think of it, I would have to say that writing is very forgiving, too forgiving. Like that friend you have that is so good to you and undemanding you forget about them. And as soon as you get back in touch, you feel like such an ass because you never knew how much you missed them. Writing is the stabilizing, smoothing out side. I am required to eventually make some sense of the stuff coming out of my fingers. And when what comes out on paper is explanation of what I am doing, that eventually makes sense too. And developing, like gaming can be stonger than any chemical stimulant and keep you up all night with similar physical and mental effects. No matter how many time 30, 10 even 5 minutes of stepping away has helped 100% in the past, stubborn developing sits staring at the screen, body contorted in some weird mirror of his current mental condition. But there are those times when each side knows the other side is there to help and hand offs go off without a hitch. And god damn, the moment I wrote sidetracked in the second paragraph, I was. And here is how you prevent that. Keep a notebook. Ideas only want to know you will get back to them. When it is a developing weekend, I take a lot of writing idea notes and when it is a writing weekend, I get my best ideas for software and site features. So use your minds little temptations to your advantage and write them down and revisit it them to see if they have any value when it is their turn.
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Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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