I've been writing software for the better part of my life and loved it for as long as I can remember. I built dozens of projects during the first few years I learned to code. Each project represented an opportunity to learn new skills and hone a craft that I loved.
Something shifted over the last 5 years, building software stopped being fun. Every new idea that I spent time on felt like a waste of time. An argument started between me and my inner critic that began to dominate any creative work that I engaged in.
Every creative endeavor led to an inevitable argument in my head - with one side screaming, “why are you doing this, this is a waste of time!", and the other side, (the side that I identify with), trying their best to stand up to the critical bully. More often than not, the creative voice lost to the critic. This manifested outwardly as procrastination and distraction, and inwardly as internal pressure, and ultimately a feeling of malaise. The critic built a lot of momentum over time, so much so, that negative thinking dominated each time I sat down to do creative work.
Self criticism and self-reflection are good things. I know that building every idea, writing every blog post or tweeting every tweet, are not good uses of time. Many ideas are just bad. But there's a set of filters that should allow a person to focus on things that are important to them, while also filtering out the ideas that are bad uses of time. My filters are turned all the way up, Rather than possibility, every new idea is confronted with harsh skepticism and not even the best ideas can take root in that environment.
The inner critic has gotten a lot stronger in the last 5 years. They've been winning the argument for a long time. I wrote this blog post to the creative voice to win for once, and to start building momentum in the other direction.