Feeding your creativity as a developer

Working on a single project for a long time, whether in a company or as a freelancer, can become a repetitive task. After the initial phases of planning and designing the architecture, and a few weeks of implementing the most important features, you can find yourself doing what is basically the same task, with slightly different details.

For some people, this can become pretty frustrating, as they are doing something they technically like — programming, but in a way that doesn’t make them feel accomplished. Going to the source of the problem isn’t always an option, as you probably can’t decide to work only on the things that you find interesting all the time, there are certain side things you can do in order to feed your creativity.

1. Taking part in related tasks

Especially in small companies, you might be able to also take part in areas such as design or marketing, if you are interested in any of them. This might not only scratch your creative itches, but also keep your interest in the project up, since you are becoming more familiar with the customers’ view and needs.

As a freelancer, you can start to slowly provide additional services in the areas that you are interested in. If you already have clients that need certain jobs to be done in those areas, you can start there. This way, you can also build a portfolio, which will allow you to get bigger gigs in that area.

2. Participating in game jams and hackathons

Moving away from things you can do directly at your job, you can try to take part in competitions such as hackathons or game jams. My favorite one is Ludum Dare, since you can participate from anywhere in the world. But depending on what you like, you can probably find similar competitions near you.

This kind of events can motivate you to try out new technologies or ideas, and again, to maybe get involved in different areas of the development process.

3. Creating videos

One way to combine your technical knowledge with a creative activity is to create teaching videos on a particular subject that you master. If you are the type of person who wants to receive feedback as soon as possible, you can create a few videos focused on a specific subject and upload them to Youtube. Afterwards, if you decide that creating videos is something that you enjoy, you can move to publishing courses on platforms like Udemy or Skillshare.

4. Writing tech articles

Another way of spreading your knowledge is to write tutorials or share your opinion on something related to the industry. As opposed to creating videos, this requires no equipment or expensive software — but in the end, it’s all about what you enjoy to do and what you are better at. There are many lists of websites that pay you to write for them or that simply accept guest posts.

We are also always looking for writers that have something to say, so feel free to contact us.

5. Creating a general creative-friendly environment

In the end, the key when it comes to feeling creative is to break the routine. Try working in a different place every couple of days, if that is possible for you. Follow other people that you admire and consider creative. Try keeping track of your tasks using pen & paper instead of a digital task board. All these little things can help put your mind in a place where it feels comfortable to create new things.

Most importantly, always plan and execute your ideas as soon as they come to you. Keeping them in your head only puts you in a state that might feel good and comfortable, but doesn’t do you any good in the long run.

About Mircea Oprea

Mircea Oprea is a software developer based in Denmark, interested in API design, graphics programming, and Agile methodologies. He enjoys discovering and exploring new technologies, a passion that resulted in projects and articles that can be found on www.mirceaoprea.net.

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