Defining Ourselves

This post is an off-shoot by my post “How I Use Twitter”. Originally I was going to publish it was one post, but after looking at the length of each, I decided to separate them out. Either way, both of these stem from Episode 3 of Analog(ue) on Relay.fm where Casey and Myke discussed Identify. There was one section in particular that got me to thinking about it, because I can completely relate.

During the conversation Casey stated:

“I think of myself…and as a hard worker, and decent at my job. I scratch fewer itches with my JOB job, and I scratch more itches with this…that’s been an odd thing for me to come to terms with. Where I used to put 150% into my JOB job, I don’t feel as though I haven’t gotten a lot out of my J.O.B. job lately, and because of that I would say that I’m not putting in 150% anymore.”

This last sentence, absolutely rings true for me. Sure, I still do my job and get things done but I am no where near as happy, nor as fulfilled, with my J.O.B. job as I used to be. It could be due to burn-out, or it could be due to having to pick up too much slack from others. Regardless of the reason, this also got me to thinking “How have I been “scratching my itches?” For the last 3 months it has been writing two e-books (which are almost ready as I write this). That’s how I have been scratching my itches lately. In the past I have done other things to scratch my itches, more on those in a bit.

There’s another show on Relay.fm, Inquisitive where the first question is always “What do you like to be known for?”, and it’s a very good question. When I first thought about the question, I honestly didn’t know how to begin to answer it.

But, after some thinking about it I did determine how I would respond. My answer would be “Writer”. You might be thinking, “But you don’t write for a living” and yes, you would be correct. However, I do write. I may not be writing what most people would considering “traditional” writing, but it is writing none-the-less. Yes, I do write e-books and I write blogs posts, like this one. Do I write for a living, no. I write in my spare time. It’s what I use to “scratch my itch”. The things I do write are Objective-C Code, HTML, CSS, and Javascript. These are most definitely not what one would consider “writing”, but it is writing.

The writing of e-books is pretty self explanatory. Thus far I have only written non-fiction e-books. I have not yet delved into the world of fiction. While all writing requires effort, Non-fiction requires some effort with unique items. Effort in the actual writing, through research, in editing the e-books, assembling the book and even posting them to the different stores. All of these take time and when something doesn’t go right, it requires additional effort to fix the issue.

I’m an engineer by nature. As an example, in a meeting after Amazon announced their Drone program, the topic of having a drone fleet at work came up. Instead of worrying about the implications and policy of what a drone fleet would mean, I was thinking “How would one control a drone fleet?”, “What servers would be involved?”, “How would one keep them charged?” and countless other engineering questions.

Given my engineering nature, writing non-fiction could easily be seen as a natural fit. Non-fiction, much like engineering, makes you think about how everything fits together and works together. As an engineer you want to make sure everything is working, and most importantly, to do it yourself. Yes, you will have to rely on others for some things, yet you want to accomplish a majority of this by yourself.

Since I like to write, would I like to write for a J.O.B. job? I think I would. If it’s a “traditional” writing position it would have to be one where I can do some more in-depth research and does not necessarily have a strict quota for churning out posts. Sites that require a huge turn out, particularly at being the first to break some news, are the sites that I despise the most.

When I write an e-book, I do have a deadline. It is typically the release date of the item that I am writing about. However, when I’m writing a web-app, or an actual app, there typically isn’t a deadline. It’s ready when it’s ready. Regardless of what I’m working on, some days I make significant progress, others I do not. It just depends on what happens during that day.

Overall, I want to be known as a writer. A writer of not only words, but code. Whether you write words or write code, the end result is a product, and that product should be what defines you. You shouldn’t be defined by what clothes you wear, what phone you use, nor whether you are up to date on the latest trends. All of these are fleeting and in the grand scheme of things, not really worth the time. However, the result of these products that could last forever. These are what defines us.

So my question to you, “What do you like to be known for?”