In the year since Samuel was born, I’ve had very little time to learn new skills or create things. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade my time with him for anything in the world, but I do miss the act of making something from nothing, or learning a new thing that makes me better. My job for several years has just been the thing I do to get paid. I’ve learned all there is to learn in my current group, done all there is to do.
In the past, my creative outlet was writing code, building franken-boxes for special purposes like a mythtv machine or a router. These IT nerdery activities all have one thing in common. They require a large chunk of continuous time to dedicate to the task. Writing code is an especially strong example of this. It takes 15 - 20 minutes just to load the whole problem set into my memory (get in the grove), and you don’t get that kind of time to yourself, ever, when you have a small child.
Where does that time go? Mostly care and feeding of the child. They start off with zero skills in this world other than eating, sleeping, and pooping, and it is your job to turn them into a complete human being. Even the eating and sleeping part needs improvement. Sam was a horrible sleeper for much of this first year. Many hours every day were spent rocking him, so even with that free time I was supposed to have while he was asleep, I still didn’t have access to a compiler, or the ability to concentrate.
What I did have access to during these long periods of rocking was my phone. I didn’t think of much to do with it other than twitter/facebook/games though. Even the games I could play one-handed were limited. I stuck to a lot of card games. My scores are way higher than I would ever care to admit. With no creative outlet at work or at home, I’ve felt myself getting very old very fast.
I tried to correct the work situation immediately upon returning earlier this year, but economic and management constraints have pulled me back into my same old role. This lead directly to this new change in my professional life. Hopefully a new job at a new employer doing new things will satisfy that craving to be a better nerd.
The other half of fixing this creative drought is to stop playing games and start writing. Those continuous blocks of rocking I’ve wasted playing card games could have been spent putting ideas into words. I’ve switched blogging platforms so I can write offline, and then edit and publish in the minute here/ minute there computing scenario that is my home life. Conceptually, I like writing as a creative outlet because it doesn’t require the pre-load time or specialized tools that designing and writing code does. I can write a sentence here and there and then try and bring it all together into a cohesive thought later. I’m not completely happy with my new blogging workflow, but thinking about how to improve the process gives me something else to do.
What I don’t want is for this to devolve into a random bitch-about-my-day blog, so I have deleted over 300 of those types of posts from history. They are preserved in a backup, but they will probably never be seen again.
Also, since I do not have time anymore for random IT bullshit (transitioning the blog alone took 3 weeks of here-and-there time), comments are gone. If I write something that you would like to respond to, please do so via twitter, email, or your own blog.