How to achieve success in your creative projects.

I was listening to the Grammar Girl podcast while running errands today.  She had a great episode on “How to write your first novel.”  It was actually contributed by my favorite podcasting horror novelist, Scott Sigler.

Scott covers how to get started on your first novel.  It struck me in fact he was drafting a wonderful process for any creative endeavor.  It would equally apply to your first programming projects. It comes down to a simple series of steps.

  1. Write what you know and accept will be a bad novel.  You won’t get tripped up on the hard spots and quit.  This is because you know its going to be bad.  So you are empowering yourself to do whatever sloppy fix to get past the rough spot.
  2. Really finish the project, no matter how bad it is.  Just walk away with a sense of accomplishment from crossing the finish line.
  3. Put the project away for a while.
  4. Write a new project.  One you really put detailed effort into.
  5. Once you finish your first pass through the second project, pick up the first one and go through it.  Find the spots you are really weak in.  Learn from that and begin revising your second project.
  6. Rinse and repeat.

I think this could apply to a lot of things.  And I think I will try it with my first start and stop attempts at some programming projects.  Give the Grammar Girl episode a listen.  She goes into detail with Scott’s advise.