Taking a break from something allows you to see it more clearly.
It's the same with code, projects, and people.
If you return to a piece of software you have written 6 months ago, you'll think "how could I ever write this?" You'd do it differently now because you have practiced and learned.
Being away over the weekend makes me appreciate my wife even more when I'm back home.
And taking a break from a project is a great way to reassess the direction you're taking.
I did a summer break from this blog to reflect where I want it to go.
These are the questions I asked myself to find a new perspective on my blog during my summer-break from it.
You can use them on your own side-projects.
They work because you aren't doing side-projects for their own sake. You always have some goal with them, even if it's just "learning Flutter".
Basically, we find out the deepest layer of "why", and then find a better solution for this why.
This is the general strategy:
I don't want this to just be a boring lecture, so let's dive right into how I applied this to my blog.
Before the summer pause, I did 1 article every week, and 1 newsletter every two weeks.
The articles were from a variety of categories. In some, I shared my experiences as a software engineer or wrote about best practices. In others, I went deep into one technology, like my Gridsome framework series.
Now, we need to find out the first layer of "why". The surface-level goals of this project.
From the top of my head, I have three goals with this blog:
My whys for these surface-level goals:
Goal "Give something back to the dev-community"
Get onto the radar of potential freelancing clients
Last, we need to think about minimum viable solutions to achieve the goals from above:
Give something back to the dev-community
Come onto the radar for potential freelancing client
So three of my four goals are no longer as relevant as before, and there are different ways to achieve the first one.
This gets me to the conclusions I took from this after-break exercise.
I only want to publish when I have to say something.
I know that quantity leads to quality.
But with over 185 pieces of content published on the web in the last 20 months, over 90 on this blog alone, I've done pretty well on the quantity side of things.
I really enjoy writing for and working on my second blog, Nerdful Mind. But I rarely enjoy writing for mannes.tech.
So, because of the why-investigation above, I'm conducting an experiment:
This experiment will run until February next year to collect enough data.
What are you working on that takes a lot of time?
Do you know exactly why you're doing it? And why you're doing it the way you're doing it?
To find out, ask yourself the questions from above: