Coder’s Block

I haven’t done any studying, nor work on any websites for two weeks now. This is highly unusual as normally I am quite focused on this.

Partly due to it having been my birthday, so there were lots of excuses for going out. But during the week I am not waking up early as per my plan, nor am I getting home and studying. I just simply don’t feel like it. I have no enthusiasm for it – which is strange because I rather enjoy it.

I want to study but yet I cannot quite bring myself to do so right now. It all seems a bit daunting. I am questioning whether I am ever going to achieve my goal of being a web developer, professionally at least.

The pressure is actually on now, as my comfortable-yet-dull non-coding job has an element of uncertainty over it, and I may not be able to rely on this for that many more months. So over the next few months, I really do have to focus on ensuring I have a few websites to populate a portfolio, ready to try and get that foot in a door.

There is a good plan too. I’m on detox for the next 5 weeks, so there will be no hangovers, no drinking, no caffeine comedowns – the brain will be able to be as sharp and focused as ever. March I will be staying in for as much as possible, so I can save up for some vinyl decks (DJing being my other passion), and also having a week’s holiday so I can do nothing but study and code.

Yet I keep going home from work and thinking about studying. And then not studying.

I’m guessing I have coder’s block. I assume it exists, like writer’s block. Or footballer’s block. Yes let’s use a football analogy as I’m sure all my potential fellow coders reading this love football.

A few years back, I remember when my team, Hull City, were chasing for promotion, and all they needed to do was win something like 1 game in 4 and they were promoted.

The goal was in front of them, literally, they knew what they had to achieve to fulfil their dream. But the pressure was on. And we kept losing or drawing to the most dismal of teams with awful performances.

This is kind of where I am. I’ve been vaguely studying web development for 4 years, albeit very occasionally until a year ago. Now I feel I am almost at the point – the goal is in front of me, I am within touching distance of being employable. Yet I’m just going to do my ironing tonight then maybe read a book.

Tomorrow I will be back on the case. There is no option. I will be a web developer.

Regular Expressions

Many Saturdays are now study days.  And today was no exception.  It isn’t over by a long chalk.

I have two rules to stop myself losing concentration.  Firstly that is to study in either 30 minute or 1 hour chunks, taking a 15 or 30 minute break from studying afterwards.

There is no point in studying when I’m losing concentration.  If I’m coding, I can go a lot longer without needing a break.

Secondly and I will get onto the subject shortly, I like to mix up what I am studying.  I started the day gently, reading about virtual reality coding in Web Designer magazine.  Then I dived back into the Bonfires on Free Code Camp, which really are quite taxing for the brain.

I spent about 2 hours on just 3 bonfire challenges, and one repeated source of confusion for me was the use of regular expressions.  It expected me to use them, without ever having taught me them.  I hadn’t done any kind of tutorial on them, though I had read about them so was aware of their existence.

Cue a bit of Googling, and a touch of procrastination, I found RegexOne.  15 lessons on regular expressions, with a task on each one to be able to progress to the next one.  Followed by some additional challenges which I am about to do.

Interactive online tutorials are for me the best way to learn – and though I am not going to be writing long regular expressions off the top of my head tomorrow, I now do have an understanding, and also a good resource to refer back to when I’m next challenged on regular expressions.

Do you have any other sources to practice regular expressions?

Time to go make my salad…[\leaves+oil\tomatoes+bacon]