When to start/stop writing/contributing

I enjoyed Mark Pilgrim’s White Lights Lead to Red Lights presentation a lot, and I took away from it (in what was to be a del.icio.us bookmark, but now a blog post) some thoughts on when to and not to write.

When to write

    * Write when you’re filled with wonder
    * If you wait until you’re an expert, it’s too late
    * Write when you can’t not write

When to stop writing

    * Just before you lose your sense of wonder
    * “Quit while you’re ahead”
    * Burnout is what happens to experts who don’t know when to quit
    * Rebirth

Simple, sensible thoughts. This is not only applicable to writing, but I would think largely to open source contributions/development. The stages when you’re filled with wonder, and contributing the most, is highly fun, but something to heed is when the sense of wonder is gone, quit while you’re ahead. Don’t burn out and just slowly fizzle out of existence (I’m guilty of this, clearly and hope never to repeat it again).

It also amazes me that within a month of learning Python and JavaScript, he started to write books like DiveIntoPython and a couple on Greasemonkey. If only we’d all be as productive…

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