Saturday, 17 April 2010

"Coders Block" : The Bain Of My Existance.

Anyone who has ever done any professional or freelance programming will know this.

Just like yesterday, you boot up the build pc, get the latest source code, check your todo list, rebuild the source code, figure out which task to take on first, and "STALL!!", you hit a mental wall and your head stops you going any further, it has to be the most frustrating things in the world, there is a job there to do yet you cant seem to get your mind to play allong.

I have spoken to plenty of programmers in the past about how they deal with the issue of coders block, and have had many differant answers, I have a freind who practices Iado, another who spends the entire day at the gym with a punchbag.

Coders block, just like writers block is the human brain's own way of saying stop and take a break.

The main difficulty is that usually the coders block kicks in when" taking a break" simply isnt an option, when there is a strict deadline rapidly coming up for example.

My own methods of dealing with coders-block are quite simple, I have no idea why they work but basically they seem to help.

First of all, I close down my code, afterall there is no point in sitting here staring at it.

Then I usually grab a book, put some music on and read until the block lifts, by doing this I actually read Stephen King's "The Shining" in a single evening.

 I have also discovered more recently that writing seems to help,(hence this post).
I take a few steps back and write up a postmortem on a recent project or write a progress report on an active project.

This obviously is great, since it is something to refer to as soon as my head kicks back in.

I also have found that just turning the computer off and going to the woods for a run really helps.

However the best thing I have ever found, is watching a really good and/or really rediculous horror film. Anyone who has been in my office now knows why I have the entire box set of Knightmare on Elm Street on my shelf right next to "Frank Luna's DirectX Book" and "AI by Example", and why I have all of the Saw films saved on my hard drive.

Hopefully writing this post, will both help my coders-block and help some other peoples coders-block at the same time.

Im going off to read my freind "Matt"s latest on the slasher story he is working on.

If you have any suggestions of your own please feel free to comment


Thanks -Ant

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