I was helping out a friend of mine the other night – a blogger who’s stopped blogging but wants to start again (i’ll leave the question of exactly who that is open, in case he doesn’t actually get so far as starting). While working on importing his entries into a current movable type install, I […]
I was helping out a friend of mine the other night – a blogger who’s stopped blogging but wants to start again (i’ll leave the question of exactly who that is open, in case he doesn’t actually get so far as starting).
While working on importing his entries into a current movable type install, I remembered how much a miss doing this; not just the blogging, but the tools and support stuff – the technology itself.
I enjoy problem solving, and for some reason I have a particular gift for it. If I were a medical doctor, I’d be the hack and slash guy doing battlefield surgery, or I’d be doctor house solving the mystery while not really getting all that involved with the people (and gobbling all the vicodin I could get my hands on). This is why I’ve wound up doing what I do at work. I’m not a programmer (though I can program), not a hardware engineer (though I work in hardware engineering). What I do, when I’m at my best, is to delve into why something broke, what made it break, and how to un-break it as quickly as possible. It’s a combination of pattern recognition skills, memory for trivia (I remember why we made some choice eight years ago, and what wraps what where, and why), and the ability to step back and look at the whole system, not just the micro-point that broke.
I’m not, however, your guy for long range planning. I’m an improviser. I’m Ornette Coleman, not Gil Evans. I wouldn’t write symphonies, and I’d never play it the same way twice. I cook the same way; when I write down a recipe of mine, every line contains an implied ‘or whatever’.
That’s why I like this sort of work; I can help solve one specific problem, for one specific person, tuning and customizing to need. A can find the tools to solve something and make them work in ways they’re maybe not intended to work. And that? That’s just fun.
The trouble I have, of course, is that I suffer from a lack of attention span. That I’m significantly ADHD should not come as a surprise to anyone who’s ever had lunch or dinner with me; I’m visibly thinking three different things most of the time, and I can’t really sit still without fidgeting for more than 15 minutes unless I have something useful to do with my hands. I have both the classic short attention span and lack of attention to detail, and the occasional hyper-focus state that lets me drill into something intensively to the exclusion of everything else.
The trouble, obviously, is that there’s no known on switch for hyper-focus. We can’t shout ‘engage!’ and have it come on like jump. It comes, unfortunately, when it comes; and task switching on a constant basis seems to make it all the harder.
Working with Movable Type more the last few days has reminded me of how much I miss the days when we were all blogging with a frenzy; when we’d all sit at some social function and think this would be great in my blog. I knew that my words would be read and commented on my people all over the globe, and in some cases, I’d inspire my friends to write on similar themes (or they’d inspire me, in those classic ‘started as a comment in someone’s blog’ posts). There was a wild energy in the loose community of bloggers; like a party where people came and went but the music didn’t stop.
What I miss isn’t just my own easy productivity; what I miss is that community dialog.
Read more “blog like no one’s reading”