Imperfect

Different people have differing views on writing when it comes to personal blogs. Some people spend a long time perfecting a draft, making sure everything reads well, there are no grammatical errors, and all the code examples are helpful and flawless. Others dash out a draft and publish as quickly as possible, then worry about editing later.

I used to be in the former camp, now I increasingly find myself in the latter. As any parent will no doubt recognise, since having my son in 2016, my spare time is extremely limited. I get home from work, have dinner, play with my son, run him a bath and put him to bed. By the time I’ve done that, plus any other household chores, it’s often 8:30 or 9pm. If I’m not exhausted, then I have around two hours to work on any side projects, play around making demos on Codepen, or write for my blog. And yet, I feel like it’s the most productive I’ve ever been.

Given the constraint of time, I’ve pushed myself to put things out into the world that are hurried, that have flaws, that are sometimes half-baked ideas, and that have a lot of potential for improvement. I’ve let go of the idea of “perfection” because, for me, it’s impossible – and it was already an unattainable goal to begin with. A bit like parenting, funnily enough.

It’s also why I no longer do much drawing and illustration work – I was never happy with a piece of illustration until it was perfect, while coding (for me, at least) feels like a series of small wins, rather than one big prize.

This has been liberating. There is a huge amount of satisfaction to be gained from deploying something at the end of a long day, instead of waiting and waiting until a project is just right. Sometimes I go back and edit later, sometimes I deem something a low enough priority to let it slide, and that’s okay.

It’s okay to be a perfectionist – I admire people with beautifully-curated portfolios and Codepen profiles, but I can finally recognise that not having that, and channelling your energy elsewhere, is not a failing.

Redesigning this site

This brings me onto my goal for 2020, which was redesigning this blog. I wrote in my 2019 review that I wanted to redesign and rebuild from the ground up. But, on reflection, that feels like a daunting task, and one that has the potential to slip into that cycle of chasing perfection. On a whim, on 1st January 2020, I decided to see if I could roll out a redesign (with a little refactoring here and there), and tackle the rebuild later (if at all). The first iteration, deployed at 11:55pm on 1st January, was far from perfect: the About and 404 pages were largely unstyled, I hadn’t updated the favicon or social media images, and there were a thousand little styling improvement that could be made. But it was something – it was usable, and it was (I think) better than what was before.

I still plan to spend time working on a lot of improvements over the next year, but I’ll do it knowing that 2020 is already off to a great start.