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Blogging Strategy – Divide and Conquer

Written by Bunkers on February 22, 2017

I've been meaning to write a blog post on the things I've been making from my list for this year. The problem is that like many of things on the list, documenting them has been more difficult than I thought it would be! My computer science lecturers taught me that you can solve any problem by breaking it down in to smaller parts - divide and conquer. I've already started breaking down some of the things I'm making in to smaller parts. Hindsight is a beautiful thing but it wasn't practical to get them done in a week. Having smaller tasks to work on makes the whole thing less daunting and helps to keep my momentum up. 

There's a part of me that feels like this is cheating a bit, but my game, so my rules! The idea is to keep making stuff, so as long as that happens I don't mind if it's big or small. I'll form a habit out of making, which will mean that over time the quality and quantity of the output will increase. That's the plan anyway...

The same approach feels right for the blog too. Some things have had a series of problems for me to overcome. That's expected because a lot of this is me learning. So I'm going to write a series of shorter posts covering each of these problems/solutions, rather than dumping the whole lot in to a single post that would be hard to publish and unlikely anyone would read. It will make things easier to reference too.

There's two items on my list so far that I was forced to rethink. The first is creating a Docker based environment for WordPress. I found myself having to overcome lots of little hurdles along the way. Docker is a new technology for me, my BASH scripting is rusty and there's a lot of conflicting advice online. I'll be writing a series of posts on this next.

The other is developing the software for my pet project Fanaticles. I always thought this was going to be a challenge to have as a single item, and it's far more complicated than the Docker one. To make things harder for myself I've been learning Clojure and decided to use the development of Fanaticles as my real world learning project. This has been fun but a pretty foolish decision! There's loads of parts to the system. I wanted to use React for the front-end UI, which has taken me down the path of learning Om.Next, not to mention all kinds of other Clojure libraries. My experiences with understanding Om.Next is a series of posts in itself, and there's still much more for me to figure out.

So, those engineering principles prevail again. KISS or you'll get bogged down. Everything I've read about habit forming says that the habit should be small. Sometimes really small. Read one page or floss one tooth. It's time I took that advice and applied it to making things and writing this blog. Jeff Goins says it should be 500 words a day, so that's the blog habit defined. When it comes to software development and the other things on my list, it's difficult to come up with a similar unit. To begin with I'm going to make it a unit of time. Working on these things for 30 minutes a day should be more than achievable and will hopefully lead to tricking my brain to work longer<. After all, the secret is getting started!