TITLE: Not Writing At All Leads To Nothing AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: April 22, 2014 2:56 PM DESC: ----- BODY: In a recent interview, novelist and journalist Anna Quindlen was asked if she ever has writer's block. Her answer:
Some days I fear writing dreadfully, but I do it anyway. I've discovered that sometimes writing badly can eventually lead to something better. Not writing at all leads to nothing.
I deal with CS students all the time who are paralyzed by starting on a programming assignment, for fear of doing it wrong. All that gets them is never done. My job in those cases is less likely to involve teaching them something new they need to do the assignment and than to involve helping them get past the fear. A teacher sometimes has to be a psychologist. I'd like to think that, at my advanced age and experience, I am beyond such fears myself. But occasionally they are there. Sometimes, I just have to force myself to write that first simple test, watch it fail, and ask myself, "What now?" As code happens, it may be good, or it may be bad, but it's not an empty file. Refactoring helps me make it better as I go along. I can always delete it all and start over, but by then I know more than I did at the outset, and I usually am ready to plow ahead. -----