Lessons Learned

Once upon a time, I used to write. Most of that writing wasn’t particularly interesting. I was just translating thoughts into words; archiving problems that I found solutions to and sharing the things I was working on. Many of those posts just disappeared into the ether with no comments, validation or rebuttals. Sometimes though, the things I wrote got noticed. Maybe it was because the project was interesting, the problem was a common one, or perhaps I just made people laugh. Regardless, it was that experience, years of personal blogging, that led to the opportunity to write The Principles of Beautiful Web Design. Even after writing the book, while contributing articles for industry sites and magazines, organizing meetups and conferences, I kept on blogging.

Until…I didn’t.

Why? Well, to use one of parenthood’s most accurate clichés, the days have been long and the years have been short.

2004: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2005: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2006: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2007: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2008: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2009: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2010: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2011: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2012: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2013: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2014: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2015: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2016: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2017: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

 

As you can see from the archive links above, 2011 was the first year that I went more than a month without writing a single post. It was the year that Amy and I moved to Atlanta so I could join MailChimp full time and in March of 2012, our first child was born. During that time my career was shifting from client-driven web design to user-centered product design. It’s also when we sold our first house, bought our second house, built an addition on to that house, and had our second child. I took on some side projects, we renovated the other side of our house, Amy switched jobs, and I spoke at a few conferences. So much was happening and I was learning more than I ever had in my life, but I rarely found time to write. And then we moved to Florida.

It’s been a little over a year since we left Atlanta and also since my last post here about joining PowerDMS. Despite that silence, I have so much I’d like to share about design, parenting, user experience, marriage, prototyping, craft beer, minimalist living, web standards…but without taking the time to sit down and write like I am right now, all of those ideas are stuck in my head.

Even with as much blogging as I’ve done, writing is still not something that comes naturally to me. It takes time and effort – two things that are hard to come by with a three and a five year old. When I do find the time, I often get stuck wondering if anyone will care, what I’m even trying to say, if I’m starting to ramble, or using commas to create unnecessary run-on sentences. As Cameron Moll said on Twitter last month, it can be exhausting.

I still enjoy the exercise of it though and have been itching to write more. Over the last few weeks, I’ve had several conversations with coworkers encouraging them to speak at meetups or write articles about the things they’re learning. That felt pretty hypocritical, so I decided to write something again myself, and not just a blog post.

The result is an article about heuristic evaluations and juice box hacks. Sounds riveting, right? Well, I just submitted it to my friends over at UX Booth, so keep an eye out for it over there. In the mean time, I’m already thinking of article topics that I might write about next, and hoping to write about more personal things over here as well.

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  • @DoughertyJack So good. If I wasn’t in 2010, I’m officially the hunchbacked old timer in that comic now. Thanks for sharing it!
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