Coder's Block

Right now I’m in a bit of a rut when it comes to getting things done in the software world. When I get home, I want to physically take care of things around the house instead of hack. Instead of working on XonStat, I look forward to pruning the trees in the front yard and planning for the next home improvement. This is strange for me, as I’m used to coming home and pruning things in my software late into the night and loving it.

I will admit that recent events have taken their toll on me. Maybe they’ve even altered the way I view software of late. See, two weeks back my wife went through surgery to remove her cancerous thyroid. I didn’t want anyone in the waiting room with me, so I was mostly alone through the rather long surgery. To burn the time and to keep my mind off of things I brought my laptop to the hospital with me. Of course as soon as she was wheeled away from me that laptop was on and humming, and my fingers streaming keys into my vim console as fast as I could think them up. That day I developed a ton of features for XonStat, but I wonder if that day also associated the activity of coding with feelings of loneliness and depression in my subconscious.

It isn’t that the hospital itself was depressing either. By all means everything about our situation was positive. Besides the fact that she had cancer, Kristin’s diagnosis was the best one possible. They’d caught it early and it wasn’t life threatening. Despite this the whole situation was still overwhelming, and I think it impacted me more than I initially thought. When everything happens so fast I suppose you don’t have the luxury of really analyzing your situation. You’re just along for the ride, and you’re lucky enough if you can think about it deeply later!

Whatever it may be that’s contributing to my code block, I have a plan to counteract the damage. I’m going to start small because I think that is the answer. I’m going to do some trivial change - refactor some code, maybe - just to drive some feeling back into my fingers. With any luck the little pebbles I’ll move with that teeny change will start a landslide in my development activity again.

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