Codevember 2018 for the first time. A waste or a priceless gift?

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Last November. As it was approaching, inevitably, I seemed to be full of doubts. Should I? Can I? It’s so much time. It’s time I will have to spend each of 30 days of November. But I couldn’t resist. So I challenged myself—and accepted the challenge.

It was completely up to me what to code, how hard it will be, how long it will take. But I couldn’t choose the simplest things.

Firstly, I found myself possessed by the creation process. The moment when you see the next day challenge topic and you have no idea what to code—and the next moment you’re struck by a thought and open your fave code editor to start coding, the sooner the better.

Secondly, what’s the point in doing this if you neither create something you’re delighted with, nor learn something?

So here were the two main reasons I decided to do this: creating things and learning something new. Later, one more reason added up. It was a kind of portfolio that I appeared to be building.

I chose the stack: plain HTML and CSS. I chose the style: simplified forms, funny stories, sometimes with a scent of philosophy (ha-ha). I chose the direction: animation. I was ready to go.

So… Was it hard? Hell yeah. It was not about my pens creation itself, but rather about keeping up all the time. Every day, either after full-time working day, or on the weekend you have to do this. Yes, it was astonishing, it felt really awesome to think up a new “plot”, to figure out how to “draw” it and make it move, to enjoy the result eventually. But damn, every day. To stick to it more securely I tweeted a new pen every day, it helped a lot. People I didn’t know left comments on Twitter, liked my works on Codepen—this was heating up my will to go to the end, so I thank everyone who did it one way or another.

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But let’s get closer to the point, what was the real profit of it all?

  1. Life experience points. Really, challenges like this give us something one cannot buy or earn in any other way. However simple your pens are, they’re worth being created each day, for a whole month. You prove yourself at least that you can keep the pace that long. If you can do this in terms of coding, you will be able to do this in any other terms. It’s applicable to our life in general.

  2. Coding experience points. Like it or not, you will face things you thought you knew but appeared not to. Or not enough. Example? Be my guest: 3D-transformation via CSS. I read about this, I tried it, I watched some video. But in real life it has never come in handy—until the very day I decided to turn a solar eclipse into a golden crown. Smoothly, with an animation. Sounds somewhat nuts, huh? The topic was “crown”, and there were two associations which came to my mind. I simply decided to combine them, and I don’t know what I’d do without the lovely 3D-transformation.

  3. A portfolio. No comment here.

  4. Twitter/Copeden followers. My Twitter followers doubled (there’d been not so much people but still). Before the #codevember I had 2 followers on Codepen, now there’re 35. A few times my pen reached the top and stayed there for a while. When it’s not your goal, it’s just a side-effect, but a nice one.

  5. Tons of pleasure. It was difficult but nonetheless I’m happy to finish this self-challenging month. And no doubts, it’s a pleasure to have this tiny collection now you can go back to anytime.

When my colleague asked me, “And what do they give you when you’re done?”, I told him, “Experience, do you need any more?”

05 March 2019

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