March 21, 2006

Writing and rewards

I found myself wondering today if writing is as rewarding as coding is :) I do both but the thing is that recently, I have not had enough time and so I have to split my time between the two. I would work on one app, then write a story and then go back to another app and so on. However, the two do not come with equal rewards.

I code for the challenge. I like solving a problem and finding a way to do something that I had to do manually or finding a way to do something that I couldn’t do before. Most of my software applications were developed out of personal need. Of course, once I released the application, others have found it useful and have suggested features that I have added. Blog is probably the best illustration of this behaviour. Over the years, it has grown to have so many features that I don’t even use. But I like knowing that other people find it useful. However, I guess in the long run, I still develop Blog because I personally find it useful.

There’s this other app of mine Amanuensis, a writer’s editor, that I developed sometime back. I found it extremely useful in writing my first novel. Once I completed my first novel, I put Amanuensis development aside because I took the whole novel into Word and have been using Word since then to edit the novel and to write the several short stories that I have written since then. However, suddenly I find myself wanting to go back to Amanuensis and to finish the app and to add a few new features that I want it to have. Of course, to do that, I’d have to take time off from writing.

Now writing, that’s a lot more personal. I don’t think I write for enjoyment. I come up with the stories because it amuses me, true. But actually putting the story down on paper, stringing the words together – that’s work. So I write mostly because I want to publish and so, unlike with coding, there is no sense of achievement once I complete a story. The sense of achievement will be there when I actually get a story published. But before that, I have to go through the agony of waiting for a story to actually get through the submission process, the dejection of having a story rejected, the innumerable days of writing a new story, the weeks of revising the story and then going through the submission process all over again. I still find myself wondering if it’s really worth it … And I guess I will never know since publication is sort of an elusive dream :p

Sure, I’ve been published hundreds of times here in Sri Lanka and based on my publication history, I could probably get published here again without too much trouble. But now I want to be published outside Sri Lanka but that’s like starting all over again since nobody outside Sri Lanka really cares about your publication history in Sri Lanka :p But what happens once I get published once outside of Sri Lanka? I’ll want to get published again. And I’ll probably want to be published in different countries. And then I’ll want novels as well as short stories published. So it’s a never ending process with ever changing goals. Is it worth all that mental anguish? I really don’t know …

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Tags: Coding, Reflections, Writing
Posted by Fahim at 8:18 am   Comments (0)