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Matt Kreiling
Matt Kreiling

Posted on

Getting back on the web

At 44 years old, after 11 years of web development, 9 as a paid professional, I found myself without so much as a blog post, much less a portfolio site to my name. Despite my mastery over many aspects of this craft, I just could not self-promote. Worse, the combination of impostor syndrome, perfectionism, rebelliousness, and plain old fear had me obsessing about what I should be doing, was preventing me from writing at all.

My todo list, as it migrated from Omnifocus to Todoist to a dot-grid notebook, could never free itself "Build portfolio site" task. It sucked all the air out of me. Often, I would want to do some coding for fun, but I ended up opening the most recent portfolio directory. I would refactor something. I would start again with a new technology in a new directory.

I had added analysis paralysis to the situation. I had no idea how to describe myself, what colors to use, static or dynamic, what kind of backend or CMS, what case studies or work experiences to write about, or where to start. I felt like I didn't even have anything to show. I jumped between new side projects or dusted off abandoned ones, trying to make them good enough to put out there.

I wasn't writing and I wasn't shipping. I wasn't really having fun. I kept feeling paralyzed about the portfolio I should be building. As a friend often says, I was shoulding all over myself.

Don't should on me

To be fair to myself, I hadn't stopped learning. I did excellent work at my day job and the constant fiddling with projects had accumulated a strong start to a personal design system. I had become if not expert, highly proficient at accessible development, CSS, content strategy, design systems, Vue, leading meetings and guiding group efforts, and writing elegant and readable code.

But I had lost something. Something was missing that drew me to the web in the first place. It wasn't about my portfolio. It wasn't about putting myself out there. I was missing the joy I had at putting my stuff out there. Look what I made! The product of my play as much as my work. As someone who studied and taught the craft of writing, the web was first a place to present words. So add to the list a sense of unfulfilled potential and a fear that fun things are just not going to be fun anymore.

It was time to stop. I'd dealt with procrastination and fear. I'd changed bad habits. I could do it again. It might be fun.


At 44 years and 3 weeks old, I pushed some code up to Along with a tool for generating accessible color combinations from a set of colors, I added a home page with a few paragraphs about me and the site.

It feels good to be back.

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