September 20, 2015
What are you waiting for?
It's time to get writing.
You can read a hundred books about writing but at some point it's time for you to get going on your project.
By now you've picked your project (don't want to write? that's ok, pick another project and insert that every time I talk about writing). Let's get started.
This is the moment where you leave behind the person who's always wanted to write a book and you become a person who is writing a book.
Maybe there will come a time when you are a person who has written a book. It's not time to worry about that now. Maybe after that you'll become a person who has published a book. Now's not the time for that either.
Now is the time for you to commit yourself. Start writing the book. Stop talking about it.
Yesterday Jean MacDonald spoke at CocoaConf Boston.
She told the story of creating App Camp for Girls.
I love her story - but it starts with a message that I need to be reminded of now and then.
She had the idea for a program that would inspire girls to program. The girls would actually write apps that would run on an iPhone. They would be mentored by women who would serve as an existence proof that the girls in the program could grow up to be awesome and do whatever they set their sights on.
She talked about the idea for a long time. People would give her feedback and be generally encouraging.
Then a magic moment happened when she decided "I'm doing this."
She didn't know exactly what "this" would be. She would offer a week-long camp for a group of girls with female counselors. She would come up with a curriculum. She would come up with computers for the girls to program on and devices that the girls could run their apps on.
She had no idea how she would make any of this happen but by the next summer it would happen.
She went from someone who was going to run a camp that would change people's lives to someone who was doing it.
Jean says the word that captures that pivotol moment was:
Once she was committed, everything changed.
The plans she made weren't theoretical.
Her needs and her timeline were real.
The advice she received was more concrete.
She was putting together a camp.
That wasn't very long ago.
She's run the camp nine times. The camp has grown to more cities. She has laptops for the girls to use and iPod touches for them to run their apps on.
I don't care how experienced a developer you are, the first time you hold an app that you wrote on an actual device and swipe and tap is a wonderful moment.
These girls are seeing apps that they designed running with code that they wrote running on the same device with professional apps.
Not just that - Jean has also assembled a staff of incredible women who create this experience for the young girls. I had the pleasure of meeting with a group of them earlier this year and I was bursting with excitement by the time our meeting was over. They have so many good ideas all contained within this framework shaped by Jean's vision.
There's this very cool parallel. The girls have these ideas for apps in their head. They brainstorm them and then others help them to realize this vision and take it from an idea to a reality.
Once Jean decided to commit, she could attract other people to this idea in her head. She had strong guiding principles that the others could recognize and work with to bring her idea to a reality.
Nobody rallied around her ideas when they were just this thing she was thinking about doing someday.
She had to commit.
What are you going to commit to?
Don't tell me. If you tell me then you're just a person planning to do something someday.
Commit and start.