The title of this post may not have the same ring as Taco Tuesday, so let me explain.
The OpenZiti team I am a part of loves creating things. Art. Music. Certainly innovative software. But making something is not as simple as it sounds. Regardless of the experience level anyone has, putting a creation "out there" might involve vulnerability, self doubt, and indecision.
For most creatives, the process of making something is enjoyable. The flip-side is that showing it to others, especially at web scale, can be a painful process where we (and our project) are laid bare, open to criticism.
This phenomenon could be among the reasons preventing, or slowing, us all from writing and sharing technical articles.
Perhaps you are dealing with this issue as well, and are holding yourself back, not writing about your work.
If so, here are some thoughts concerning how I have managed to overcome my fear, and have transitioned into actually enjoying producing technical blog content, as a vehicle to share and collaborate on the software I build.
The fact is most of us think other people care far more about what we do and how we do it than they actually do. Social science folks refer to this as the spotlight effect.
The spotlight effect is a cognitive bias that skews our perception of ourselves and the world around us in a way that is often out of sync with reality and how others view us.
Yes, it's natural to inwardly focus on our flaws, inadequacies and shortcomings, but it's also important to understand that it's highly likely other people won't ever notice them at all.
Sure, try to recognize the thoughts that might stop you from sharing your work. Just don't let them block you.
When you build or create something new, it's easy to focus on the finish line; the moment when you throw your hands in the air and shout "It's finished!".
Reality check: that moment rarely (if ever) happens. Things are always a Work In Progress.
Accepting that your projects are a constant, never-ending work in progress, that you revisit and develop, will allow you to be less critical of the flaws that you find because once you've found them, you can fix them, one at a time.
Share the Process, not just Product.
If you agree that a project is never really, truly complete, then it's much easier to share your work along the way because it'll always have some flaws (no matter how minor), but they won't bother you quite so much because you just haven't fixed them yet.
If we remember that the process is more important than the end product, then why wouldn't we show the project as it develops?
Once you start shipping (publishing) articles, you're bound to receive both criticism and critique, but it's important to recognize the difference.
Criticism is judgmental and typically is focused on finding fault.
Meanwhile, critique is balanced and justified by explanation.
It's easy to think the two are the same, but critique is constructive and helps you to improve your work, criticism often doesn't.
In my experience, the vast majority of people in creative communities motivate others around them, not criticize them. Most will look for the positives in your work, or offer ways to help you improve it.
The benefits you'll get from receiving constructive feedback will always outweigh the small amount of negativity that might come your way because you decided to share in public.
Oh, this article's subject line. What's that about, you ask?
In addition to the notions discussed above, another reason we Zitizen's haven't published as much interesting tech content as we'd prefer is that we have been spending 110% of our cycles heads down solving software engineering problems related to zero trust networking, distributed systems, DevX, and many other things related to the OpenZiti mission.
To solve that "too busy to write" problem, with the blessing of our CTO, our new team commitment is that we will spend Wednesdays devoted to producing enhanced documentation and more tech articles related to the OpenZiti journey.
We affectionately refer to this initiative as Extrovert Wednesday, a tongue-in-cheek nudge to get over any introverted tendencies we might have, and get out there!
We will share our journey (and our work), every step of the way. Our community will definitely reap the benefits. We hope you hop on for the ride (use our 'newsletter subscribe' widget, and you'll never miss any upcoming articles).
I wrote this post on our team's first Extrovert Wednesday, and it could be considered my way of re-telling myself not to be so shy, or just to take my quill out of moth balls and create a post to start exercising my writing muscles.
Writing and sharing your work isn't easy, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Moving forward, you can expect me to deliver on tech topics that include:
- WebAssembly and how it's used in OpenZiti
- How to make web servers invisible to malicious actors, without VPNs
- Self-hosting real-world CMS, analytics, and other types applications in the cloud, with no open ports, while still making the apps accessible to authorized users
- How to embed zero trust networking directly in your apps via OpenZiti SDKs
- much more
I hope you come back here often to see what we're cookin' up for you here in the OpenZiti kitchen.
Show me someone who has never made a mistake, and I'll show you someone who has never made anything.