Something to push against

There is really nothing more daunting than a blank canvas.

I used to be nervous about the first character or line that I would draw into a notebook because it was such a grand statement.  This act would be the beginning of my “creative” journey.  This was the case when I first learned to use Adobe InDesign in university as well.  I was forced to do a tremendous amount of sketches on paper to layout what my grand concept would be.  I just worked backwards.  I made the thing in InDesign and then sketched a bunch of layouts afterwards to “show my work”.

The way I like to create is to throw something on the screen and then push against it.  I take the smallest version of what I want to make and then I tweak it.  Then I tweak it again.  And again.  And again.  I’m sure somewhere there’s software that can track the versions of every single save you’ve done, but to be honest, I haven’t used it.  Why would I save a version of something that I thought was worse than what I have?  That’s why I changed it in the first place!

Every blog post that I write starts with a overly long process of deciding what the feature image should be.  I need that there to anchor my ideas and thoughts and the writing builds around that image.  For example, this post was first started with the instagram video that’s embedded below (I know it’s a video and not an image, but bear with me).  Ironically, for Shift SMS, I had created a mockup (seen above) which was supposed to help me figure out how I was going to design this web application.  But to be honest, it felt really pointless to do so.  This mockup was the equivalent of telling me to sketch out all of my layouts before I went and designed it on computer.  It just wasn’t the way I work.

But in the case for Shift SMS, what’s the alternative?  I would just code it and then iterate on that code?  Oh wait, I can’t code.  Shit.

I’ve been using this metaphor lately of mountain climbers on Mount Everest.  When you’re at sea level, there’s just people living their day to day lives.  Go a little bit higher, you’ll get the people that want to hike the base.  A little bit higher than that, you’ll get the amateur climber.  But there’s a point (8000 meters or 26,000 feet according to Wikipedia) where you need to carry oxygen, because the air is too thin.  This point is what separates the minor leagues from the pros.  If you cross it, you must be a serious motherfucker.

Applying this metaphor to my professional life, that point is the ability to fluently write code from scratch.  I can’t do that.  However, there are programming frameworks and plugins, which are pre-made chunks of code that you can customize to varying degrees.  In this metaphor, frameworks and plugins are like a small balloon of oxygen.  It’ll give you enough to survive a little bit longer, but it’s hardly the recommended way to hit the summit.  But when you’re in my position, you just need some goddamn oxygen.

So that’s where FullCalendar came in.  It’s a jQuery plugin that allows you to get a calendar going very quickly and somewhat simply.  Right now, I think having any form of a calendar interface laid out is great, because now I can push against it.

One Comment

  1. I totally get it. I used to backtrack and make up some random ugly sketches to fulfil the requirement. I think it could be a generational thing in the way we work in digital formats.

    press on anthony!!!


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