It’s been a long time since I’ve written an article that didn’t teach people how to do something technical. I’m not a great writer so when I can focus my words on topics more important (to my readers) than rhetoric, I can get away with with a grammatical error or two.
Today, though, I’m at the mercy of nit-pickers as I’d like to discuss something non-technical for a moment. Stick with me. I’m feeling some kind of way this morning and I’d like to share my thoughts.
The first question that comes to mind is one that I had to ask myself several times before I finally did something with myself. Now, I’m asking you.
What the hell are you doing online?
As most of you know, I released my first PHP application a few days ago in the shape of a WordPress framework. Check it out if you haven’t already.
Before Volatyl, my new framework, I had accomplished a few things online but nothing that held any weight. I won’t get into the details. You can read about it in my last article if you’re interested.
After releasing Volatyl, though, I immediately felt like I had a reason to call myself a web developer, coder, or however you want to label what I do.
It didn’t matter who liked my work. It didn’t matter who used my products.
All that mattered in this context is that I shipped something important as a result of the learning and practicing I had previously done.
Before Volatyl’s release, asking myself what the hell I was doing online would send me into a motivational frenzy. I couldn’t clearly answer the question but working hard and speaking loudly about it was enough, I guess.
Does this sound familiar to you? Are you constantly busy, always motivated, but seem to have nothing to show for it? If that sounds like you, keep it real with yourself.
Crazy things happen when you STFU and do work. There's a lot of noise in this industry but very few people are doing anything. Weird.
— Sean Davis (@SDavisMedia) March 16, 2013
Let’s shift gears.
Do you know what your next move is?
The reason why I couldn’t move forward as a developer is because I didn’t trust my own skill. I judged my skills by comparing what I could do to what others had already done.
In other words, if you’re a developer and I’m a developer, but you’ve produced a software that I don’t think I can create, I feel like I need to learn more before I can actually call myself a developer by producing something.
So the “goal” became to learn more instead of produce anything.
My next move was always to learn the next language, understand the next coding concept, or learn to use the next software that someone else had already built but most people didn’t understand.
At some point, I think it’s important to stop what you’re doing and gauge your progress by applying your knowledge and resourcefulness.
Almost a year ago, I wrote an article for Expert Enough titled Why You Need to Quit Demanding Perfection From Yourself.
Give it a read. If you know what your next move is, but you haven’t made it happen for the aforementioned reason or others like it, let my article get you going. I’m sure you’ll like it.
If you have no “next move,” it’s time to start thinking about it.
Call me crazy, but I see no value in having skills for the sake of having skills. That reminds me way too much of general education… but let’s not go there.
Spend some time figuring out what you want to produce and ignore everything else. It’s that simple.
If the thing you wish to do is right, and you believe in it, go ahead and do it! Put your dream across, and never mind what “they” say if you meet with temporary defeat, for “they,” perhaps, do not know that every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent success. ~ Napoleon Hill
Start planning your first (or next) project
Understand that when I decided to build Volatyl, I had never built a WordPress theme. I had never built a WordPress admin option. I had never written my own PHP from scratch. I had no experience in what I was about to do.
All I did was decide that it was going to happen and it was a wrap.
As I traveled deeper into Volatyl’s development, a sort of “common sense” came over me that connected the dots between the random points of knowledge I had long before I acquired, but didn’t know how they would apply to anything bigger.
Basically, I had to start building something with an obvious end state before all of my knowledge could come together and present itself as an actual skill.
Knowledge without application is useless. ~ Thomas Edison
Excuse my language, but it’s time to stop fucking around. If you’re a developer, develop something. If you’re a designer, design something. If you’re a writer, write something.
Stop letting useless metrics like Twitter followers convince you that you’re doing something unless your actual skill is to produce social media results. Otherwise, you’re knee-deep in procrastination.
What’s next for you online?
Shoot me your ideas. Let me know if I can help.
Contrary to the watered down vibe of the blogosphere, we’re not here to feel good and sing “Kumbaya” all day. If you have a skill, prove it to yourself. You’ll be thrilled with the results. I know I am. 🙂
Leave a comment with what’s on your mind.