Stuck in a Groove

Things have been a mite slow due to the usual reasons (i.e., real life, work, etc.) and due to a couple of unusual reasons that I’ve been unable to pin down until a few days ago.

First off, I have come to the unescapable conclusion that I need something else to keep my mental gears running smoothly. I’m not quite sure what yet, but it will probably entail some form of challenge, or at the very least some different stimuli.

It all began when I realized I’m (finally? again?) outgrowing computers, at least in some ways.

My usual appetite for coding sprees somehow1 lost a significant portion of its allure over the past few months, and even though I currently do a couple of days’ worth of coding and sysadmining a week, the will to extend those sessions beyond regular working hours is practically nil2.

Also, since I have around zero chance of doing native (i.e., non-web) stuff in the foreseeable future, I’ve been focusing on other aspects of the web development trade, like putting together site mock-ups, doing random bits of artwork, discussing visuals and branding, and, of course, spending most of my time managing, sorry, herding various breeds of cats.

Any of those things hinges on planning and organization habits I’ve always found satisfying, but, let’s face it, they’re not wide-reaching enough. Plus I’ve made an effort of limiting them (except for the usual shower epiphanies) to office hours because I know from past experience that doing something completely off the wall on your free time is the best way to ensure you get back to work with a fresh mind every day3.

But as far as leisure is concerned, I’m somewhat more worried that even books aren’t quite cutting it. Even though I’ve been steadily increasing the percentage of “serious” books (I currently have psychology, contemporary history and maths textbooks lined up for reading), sitting around reading isn’t something I can do for long.

Writing, on the other hand, usually is - but, alas, proper writing requires inspiration that I currently lack, and I’m currently experiencing what I’ve come to think of as the Hell of a Thousand Drafts, in which I begin three new pieces every week but never get around to finishing any of them.

Worse, my sense of humor is gone. Well, not gone (my workmates will readily attest to it being not merely present and accounted for, but positively brimming), but at least absent from my writing, which is enough of a matter for concern that I’m strongly considering sending out a search party.

In the past, picking up a camera and walking out the door - or sitting down at a (non-computer) keyboard and dabbling in music - usually helped, but these days opportunities are few and far between, so I’m in a bit of a rut.

And the only way out of a rut is usually to move forward, so… Better get going.

  1. Actually, I blame Perl and a certain codebase I’m deeply regretting not having tossed out when I had the chance, but that’s another story↩︎

  2. It bears mentioning that I’m rather more partial to the sysadmining than to actual coding, given that I’ve always favored architecting stuff - plus we’re doing some neat stuff with lxc, which is fun. ↩︎

  3. Kids and insomnia permitting, of course. ↩︎