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General

Anxiety

I’ve had a few questions come to me wondering where I’ve been on CodeProject (CP) the past year or so.

I’m still around, I try to read the Lounge and SoapBox daily; but in November of 2002 I started having problems with anxiety. This unfortunately coincided with me working with Tom Archer and Nish on the then unwritten book “Extending MFC Applications with the .NET Framework”.

Click more to delve into my best explaination of my madness.

Note: I realize this is a bunch of contrived non-sense, but I’m just hoping that writing it out will stop my mind from thinking about these things.

All of this pretty much comes down to two things: I’m incredibly shy and I hate being wrong.

I’m tired of writing this, but I hate see the text wasted so I’m just gonna post it already. Don’t bother clicking More, you’ll be bored after the third paragraph.

My job with the book was to provide the CCW writings. At the time the book was going to focus on the CCW with little or no usage of Managed C++ to integrate with .NET. The reason for this was that we wanted to get the biggest audience, and by using the CCW we could target the Visual Studio 6 users in addition to the Visual Studio .NET users.

My problem came in that I’m not a COM programmer. I know the basics, CoInitialize, CoCreateInstance, etc but I’ve had zero real life experience with actually using COM beyond what I’ve done in the first few chapters of some books. Because of this my first chapter was horrible; if you’ve read my articles on CodeProject I can tell you that the first chapter was nothing like those. My words were lost in a sea of sentences and I had a hard time coming up with anything new. On top of that I didn’t write much at all; I had put all of my thoughts down and only mustered 12 or so pages — 1/4 of my goal. After a brief read through I had realized I forgot something important. I had absolutely no code in my text!

Keep in mind, all of this is behind the scenes, Tom and Nish both have no idea how bad my work is going at the moment but I know that Tom can sense I have some problems with my writing. Unfortunately, I’m a perfectionist so I had problems releasing something that wasn’t polished. With reluctance, after a month of writing I finally gave Tom and Nish my half-finished awful chapter.

During this time I started pulling away from CP; with work going so bad on the chapter I didn’t want to give the appearance that I wasn’t working on it. I went from an average of 20-50 posts a day down to about 10, and it kept slipping the longer I worked on the book. Finally on January 7th, 2003 I got an e-mail from Tom telling me what I already knew. It would be better for the book if I left and let Tom and Nish handle it. Tom and Nish are excellent writers so I knew the book would turn out well.

I was too late, the damage had already been done; I slipped back into my pre-article writing ways. All read and no write. I effectively shut myself off from communicating on CP, because every post took too much work to do. Not to mention all of the internal cheerleading I had to do to actually click the submit button. With new people already answering all of the C# and .NET questions on the forums I was left without a avenue to begin posting again.

Some people at this point are probably wonder why I didn’t just start answering questions anyway. The answer is simple; anxiety. My mind takes every little thing and blows it up larger than it should be. In this case I didn’t want to encroach on other people gaining some fame in the same way that I did. A very big concern was how the other CPians would feel. In my mind this meant some people would be upset because I’m butting back in on their newly gained territory. Now I realize it wouldn’t be nearly as bad as what my mind is telling me, but this is my mind I’m talking about so it doesn’t have to be logical.

Failing the message boards I started in on some work on new articles. I published one of the them, which was well received, but I have yet to post the second even though the code for it has been done for about 6 months now. I’m eyeing a re-write on it since the article was written at the same time as some of the code, which has changed since the article was written.

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About James

I am a Senior Developer/Consultant for InfoPlanIT, LLC. I previously spent over 7 years as a Product Manager for what eventually became ComponentOne, a division of GrapeCity. While there, I helped to create ActiveReports 7, GrapeCity ActiveAnalysis, and Data Dynamics Reports.

Discussion

3 thoughts on “Anxiety

  1. You’re beating yourself up James. First of all, you should have spoken up about your COM failings from the beginning. Its not an easy subject, so you shouldn’t be ashamed of not knowing it well. Secondly, even being considered to write with Tom and Nish should make you feel 100 feet tall. Yeah, you messed up, but learn from it and help others learn from it. Write an article on your experience and don’t worry about what others think.

    Posted by JasonH | February 15, 2004, 5:44 am
  2. Youíre beating yourself up James.

    Yeah, I know; it just seems that no matter how blessed I may be I always find a way to screw up. After a while I start to look back and think I was born to squander everything I’ve gained.

    First of all, you should have spoken up about your COM failings from the beginning.

    I honestly can’t remember if I did. I remember that Tom had a lot of faith in me and my work which I’m eternally grateful for. I think I wound up getting stuck with the CCW work because I had done some testing with it earlier and was answering a few questions on it.

    Yeah, you messed up, but learn from it and help others learn from it. Write an article on your experience and donít worry about what others think.

    Good idea; maybe I can pull all of this into something with cohesion and add a few things on to it. I know I had a few things left in mind when I got sick of working on this post so it would just be a matter of remembering those bits and pieces.

    Posted by James T. Johnson | February 15, 2004, 6:31 am
  3. If you write an article on your experience and especially about what went wrong, I think it would earn you a lot of respect (not that you didn’t have any already). It’s a sure fire 5 vote from me.

    Posted by JasonH | February 16, 2004, 5:24 am

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