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Cover image for When's the Last Time You Finished a Coding Side Project?
Alex Morton
Alex Morton

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When's the Last Time You Finished a Coding Side Project?

How many times have you gotten straight to work on a coding side project that you’d just gotten the lightning bolt of inspiration for, only to fantastically fizzle out a few days later once you ran into a tough problem that you weren’t motivated to solve?

I’ll go ahead and raise my hand right up.

And it sucks! Seriously, the gap between that burning motivation to build your project and then the sputtering loss of inspiration can be so frustrating.

And the thing that’s even more frustrating than that is the fact that it seems to have become a pattern that happens every time you come up with and start in on building out a new idea.

And then you end up with a sad wasteland of folders within a ‘projects’ folder on your desktop that you can’t bring yourself to delete because that you mean that you’re really not going to get around to those particular projects one day. Le sigh.

I personally got tired of this sad project-starting-and-never-shipping pattern, and I decided to come up with a personal plan for overcoming it.

Here’s that side-project plan for you, my creative coding friend. May you always follow through on the side projects you undertake:

  1. Check in with how realistic your expectations are
  2. Set one achievable goal project to remain focused on
  3. Give yourself a useful constraint
  4. Commit to showing up for yourself x amount of time each week
  5. At the end of your time frame, celebrate your progress (even if you aren’t done, look at just how far you’ve come since beginning)

For a deep dive into the steps outlined above, I invite you to listen to today's episode of my podcast The Ladies Code Collective Podcast here >>


The Ladies Code Collective Podcast cover art

Top comments (5)

sbu_05 profile image
Sibusiso Dlamini

I never have built a project with friends, but I imagine it would definitely be a morale booster, and a source of motivation to finish a project.

I like building things in my own time to learn a new concept, doing that with a partner would make the experience that more enjoyable, but sadly none of my friends share the same interest in coding with :(

alexlsalt profile image
Alex Morton

Probably! I tried building something with a friend I'd made on Twitter a while ago, but we kind of just let it fizzle out, unfortunately.

It could definitely be good experience, though, for collaboration and working on a team :)

adamih profile image
Adam Henriksson • Edited

I try to make a new concept every 2-3 days (or finish it around every week) since last month and going forward. Testing out Deno as a backend api? 2-3 days. GraphQL api? same. Typescript and React? Finish up in a week. Small projects like that really helped me boost my knowledge super fast. The trick is that it doesn't have to be commercial, it just needs to be short, specific and well defined (and very pretty <3).

vonheikemen profile image

This is awesome, advice I can actually follow.

I did "finish" a side project last month. I'll keep this in mind for the next one.

alexlsalt profile image
Alex Morton

Love it - glad to hear that!!