If you really knew me, you’d know that writing fiction is the Yin to my web design & development Yang.
When these two sides of my nature are in harmony, inner peace is the result. When they are in competition, the result is inner turmoil.
Because my current prose proficiency is greater than my current coding proficiency, there have been times in the past when the less glamorous tasks involved in writing code (e.g. debugging & diagnosing updates that break your app) would cause me to question the decision to devote so much time and energy to a second, extremely cognitively taxing craft. But today I had a breakthrough:
Writing code and writing fiction are really just two ways to solve problems…
Two ways to tell a good story.
Two ways to entertain.
Two ways to educate.
Two ways to inspire.
It’s been said that, “Writing is thinking on paper.”
Likewise, coding is thinking on a computer / network / mobile device / in the matrix.
In every career track you will find people who’ve been obsessed their whole lives with the skills and craft involved in their profession–and seemingly nothing else.
I am not one of these people.
But as of today, I no longer envy the single-minded specialists. I respect them, sure (I respect everyone). But now I’ve found a new appreciation for my inner compass. And to celebrate, I’m calling bullshit on the following aphorism–a smug quip propagated by ass-hats, that sadly, has stunted the growth of many a budding Renassaince (Wo)Man:
Don’t be a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none.
While I can appreciate the cautionary tale contained within this advice (i.e. don’t be a dilettante; learn and appreciate the unique rewards that result from hard work and mastery of a skill), the danger–especially for young people–is that if they hear this quote, and happen to be a well rounded, passionate individual with many pursuits, they might start to feel like there’s something “wrong” with them…like they can’t be a “success” in life unless they eliminate extraneous pursuits that bring them joy in favor of a monk-like devotion to only those skills their culture and society celebrates.
There is a better way: recognize that “All Is One.”
Clear thinking on paper , is clear thinking in a text editor, is thinking clearly.
Empathizing with your reader, is empathizing with your end user, is being empathetic.
Getting wisdom past a student’s rational filters in the form a story, is refactoring a peer’s code to amplify their intent and imparting wisdom along the way, is being wise.
Writing is writing. Coding is coding. Writing is coding.