Last week I mentioned my decision to learn Python and write a free software program. I found some cool online tutorials. I found my Learning Python book, and I was ready to begin. So like many a programmer I sat down in my chair, opened my books... and watched "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" instead.
Starting any project is a bit daunting and scary. All the notes and computer books in the world don't write that first line of code. So the first barrier to beginning a new project is procrastination. I think of it as the programmer's mistress. If a new program is like the wife of the a programmer, procrastination is like his mistress. He knows that it's wrong to spend time with her. He feels guilty when he is with her, but the incredible attraction persists.
I find that the scariness of the goal directly correlates to how much I procrastinate. If I have a mildly disturbing task to do, I'll procrastinate by watching a movie and have some icecream. With a more frightening project, I might go on a movie marathon.
So what did I do when I was faced with writing my first program in 20 years? I watched "Buffy the Vampire slayer". The complete collection. All 144 episodes! It took so long to watch them all, that I judged the passage of time by the moon phase indicator on the bottom bar of my computer.
=IMAGE=BuffyandSpike.jpg=Buffy considers driving a stake through Spike's heart. (Image credit: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" ©2001 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation / Fair Use)=
Now to be honest, I do have other things that I am avoiding. I am mortally afraid of the new school year for example, but the thought of programming terrifies me. In my gut I keep thinking that a "real" free software programmer should program for fun and relaxation. Perhaps my fear labels me as someone who is not suited to program. The doubt just makes me feel worse. I know that I shouldn't have such high expectations at the beginning of a project, but I do.
But then again, I know that waiting won't solve anything. Now is not the time for doubt. Now is the time to get over it and just try my best. I take a deep breath, open my Python book, and start over again. After-all, Spike is just so hot in season six.