Sabbatical Week 1 Retrospective and Week 2 Planning

Last week was the first planned week of my working sabbatical. The following items were on the weekly sprint list:

  • in a showable state (DONE)
  • Blog post per day – 5 total (3 completed)
  • One story in rough draft (30% done)

I spent 3 solid days on the first item plus a little bit of the fourth day. I’m pleasantly surprised with the result. It’s better than I expected given my experience. There’s nothing spectacular from the code side of it but I learned a lot about UI work which is an area I’m lacking in. The last two items didn’t share quite that much success. The blog posts and story writing got ignored to some degree, especially over the first three days. I’m finding it’s hard to split focus across two drastically different domains like coding and writing. Once I put my head down on the website, I wanted to keep working on it, especially since it’s easier to see progress there.

I’m also finding that writing creatively is exhausting. I think I overreached significantly with that last bullet based on this as I could only spend 2 hours at a time before I was wiped out. I only did this a couple of days instead of 5-7 days and so, progress was minimal on the story. I can whip out a 600 word blog post in no time but building characters takes a lot out of me.

I also read 2 books, more than I’ve completed in probably the past 3 months. That was very satisfying. I used to be an avid reader and somewhere along the way, turned into an avid book buyer. Completing books is far more compelling than just buying them. This wasn’t on the sprint list but it’s a nice side effect.

For this week, I’m going to focus less on the results of the writing and more on the time spent doing it in an effort to build up my creative chops. On the technical side, I want to get a landing page up for the main website I’m working on this summer. If time permits, I’m going to get devise set up on the site as well. On the creative side, I’m going to stick with 5 blog posts this week. I’m also going to try and write for 20 pomodoros (about 10 hours) over the course of the week. I think this will be more achievable in the short term and will help me develop a basis for pushing into more completed work in the next few weeks.

3 comments on “Sabbatical Week 1 Retrospective and Week 2 Planning

  1. Would you be so kind as to recommend a good Ruby / Rails for Dummies instruct-o-matic site?

  2. is great for a starter. I worked through it plus all the exercises and felt like a I had a grounding in most of the fundamentals. It covers Rails, Ruby, Git, Heroku and a bunch of other stuff. I’m currently reading through The Well-Grounded Rubyist. Railscasts is an excellent free resource for a TON of Rails related items, all for free. He has well over 200 episodes up and I watch the ones for issues I’m trying to learn. I probably ought to go through and watch them all.

    The Ruby/Rails lessons at have been highly recommended, specifically the Rails 3 Essential and Ruby Essential training. They aren’t free but are supposedly high quality. I haven’t tried them yet.

  3. Excellent, thanks.

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