Blogger's block

I've had blogger's block recently - stuck half way through a gripping analysis of search intentionality and the real time web, I just can't summon up the enthusiasm to finish it. Worse than that, its been blocking any thought of more interesting and tractable posts. So I've binned it, some times you have to know when to move on.

Knowing when to quit is a skill well worth learning, whether its a job, a project or a stupid blog post. I've learnt when to quit a job the hard way, when I get home from work and need to spend half an hour just winding down before I can manage a civil conversation with my wife then I get out a pen and start writing the resignation letter. With this blog, I've started off with a simple time limit of two weeks to get a post finished before it goes in the bin. How to quit a project is something I still struggle with.

Projects seems to have a natural rhythm, alternating periods of unbounded optimism with negative periods where the mountains begin to seem insurmountable. However, the project still has legs whilst you care about it. Despairing of ever shipping a project can be good - it shows that your heart is still in it. The time to kill it is when nobody cares any more and the sooner you recognise this the better.

Do you have a project that used to be on the agenda at every management meeting that never seems to come up any more? Do the team assigned to the project seem to spend more time working on their build system or helping with another team's problem? Then kill it! In these lean times we have to stay focused on what's important and if every one's stopped caring then move on to the next battle.

Part of the catharsis is getting up and starting again, which is partly where this post comes in - that and explaining my real excuse for a month of silence.