Pointed Development

“My Code Sucks” and Other Terrible Thoughts

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They’re all gonna laugh at you. – Piper Laurie as Margaret White, Carrie (1976)

I don’t release my writing to the public. And I don’t write as frequently as I’d like.

I love to write. Generally, it comes naturally even though I’m not the greatest wordsmith and I struggle with simple spelling and grammar mistakes. But I love to write. It’s my raison d’être.

Yet I keep my work to myself. I love ideas but I don’t follow through.

This crosses over to code, too. I keep a lot of my personal project code to myself.

I possess a paralyzing fear of failure.


I’ve written before about writing and failure and having a specific certainty that I’m incorrect. Even now, I’m spending time tracking down a very small bug in code that I released two years ago, only to find out that the bug is much bigger than I thought. My original implementation is flawed. Completely broken.

And it’s been public for two years!

It’s a kind of sick, sinking feeling: Not necessarily knowing you’re wrong, but knowing that everyone else knows your wrong. It’s fear of failure so deep, you can’t even take that first tentative step out the door.

Overcoming Fear

I’m a hobbiest writer. I have hundreds of stories sitting around in various folders on my computer. I enjoy playing with plot and characters. My characters and plots are near and dear to my heart, like old friends.

A similar situation exists with code: I have scores of projects in various states of completeness. I enjoy playing with objects and ideas. My code is near and dear to my heart, like an old friend.

And that’s the problem.

I’ve attached an emotional connection to a science.

Accepting Imperfection

Push it.

This is my new mantra.

I’m going to fix my two-year-old bug. I’m going to push my changes to the GitHub repository.

I’m going to start adding projects.

Some of the projects are terrible. Some, not so much. Someone may benefit. Someone may be abundantly critical.

And that’s okay.

Imperfection is okay.

I must disconnect my emotional connection to my code and let it be.

The hardest step for a runner to take is the first one out the door.–

Ron Clarke