It was the summer of 2010 that I decided I wanted to dust off the DSLR I bought in 2006 and put it to good use more often. So throughout that summer, I made an effort to bring my camera with me everywhere I went. I brought it to work, to my various meetups I attended, and even when I walked around Chicago. I just kept taking photos of whatever I thought was interesting.
I discovered that I really enjoyed taking photos and sharing them with everyone on my social networks. I felt that I wanted to share the things that were going on around me. From comic conventions, a friend’s night out, someone presenting at a meetup or conference, or the food I was eating– I enjoy publishing it for all the world to see.
I’ve realized that photography, like blogging, is a form of story-telling. At least that’s how I like to photograph. It’s no surprise then that photography would become one of my new favorite hobbies. Like writing/blogging, photography is a craft I want to get better at. I recently came across a blog post: Want to be a Better Photographer? Become a Better Writer by Scott Bourne. That post points out that all these things have a strong correlation.
But it also occurred to me recently, that coding has a lot of similarities to photography and blogging.
Software development is basically a form of communication. I am reminded of the post: Coding: It’s Just Writing by Jeff Atwood. When a developer writes code, it’s basically writing. The developer communicates to the computer, what the developer wants the computer to do, in the form of code. A developer also communicates to other developers, project managers, and clients verbally, through emails, or even instant messages. Check out Jon Skeet’s answer to Are good programmers good writers? I very much agree with his statement:
"clear thinking leads to clear code" - Jon Skeet
I must thank Stackoverflow, for helping developers to combine writing and coding together. For me, the very act of writing out a question on any of the StackExchange (SE) sites, helps me get closer to finding an answer. To write a question so that others could answer, requires thinking and organization. It needs to be concise, show effort, and it has to be clear. There were probably a dozen or so questions I was going to post on some of these SE sites, that I ended up answering on my own because I sat down to clearly think and write what I needed help on. Of course I didn’t bother posting the question once I figured out the answer, but in hindsight, I guess I should have.
So in essence, photography, blogging, coding are all forms of story-telling and writing. They provide a means to achieve clarity. I really enjoy doing all of the above. What’s awesome about it is, there’s no done-learning to any of them. You can just keep doing them for months, years, even decades, and still find ways to improve and enjoy the art.