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I read this question and the most voted answer and said to myself "Those things are what I want to do! But why the heck I'm not doing it?"

The problem here is that I can't get anything started. I hope you get some kind of idea what I'm interested in and can help me continue programming.

I'm interested in embedded programming and I'd like to learn some ARM assembly. I think those could be combined with image processing.

Also I'd love to create programs that are actually useful to some people but it seems like there are already multiple programs for pretty much every purpose. Maybe if I found an interesting program without open source alternatives I could get a great project to work on.

How could I get myself to finally start a project or few and keep myself interested in them? I just want to get myself to do something I love.

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put on hold as primarily opinion-based by Ixrec, Snowman, durron597, Dan Pichelman, GlenH7 May 19 at 17:26

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

"I'm a bit tired so" doesn't help anyone when they read this weeks from now. "just comment if something isn't clear or simply doesn't make sense" goes without saying. You can delete all of that so that your question is shorter and more clear. –  S.Lott Jan 11 '11 at 0:25
Seems like I'm too sleepy to think that far. :D –  0xHenry Jan 11 '11 at 0:28
Lol, why not write an IRC bot in Assembly? –  TheLQ Jan 11 '11 at 0:42
I've never had problems starting projects, finishing them is another question -.- –  entity64 Jan 11 '11 at 8:04
I have a similar "saving the world" syndrome with my toy projects. If I know the thing will not be useful even for myself, I can't be bothered with it. –  teukkam Apr 4 '11 at 8:36

8 Answers 8

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Just do it!

  • If you want to learn something, grab a tutorial and just do it!
  • If you want to build something, sit down at the computer and do it!

Code, Man, Code! It's not that hard. Find something that shows you a small scale example of what you want to make and do it!

Once you decide what you want to do, a framework and existing libraries can help a lot too.

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Thanks, I'm trying. For some reason this answer gave me a reaaally big smile! Maybe I'll try to get some simple ARM device somewhere. I wish Nokia phones were more open; I'd dedicate old one for some project. :) –  0xHenry Jan 11 '11 at 0:24
Once you get started, it becomes so much easier. Remember that starting is often the hardest part. –  rmx Jan 11 '11 at 16:30
Have you been watching Dexter lately? "Do it!" –  cdnicoll Jan 11 '11 at 17:19
@cdn: No I haven't. Does he say that a lot? –  John Jan 11 '11 at 18:34
@John Theres a character in the latest season who's an inspirational speaker, it's one of his key lines :) –  cdnicoll Jan 11 '11 at 18:57

I've given this advise to others and it seems to do the trick most of the time:

With a programming project the initial start seems to be insurmountable if it is conceptualized on just the general idea. You might have an idea for a mario game but when you think "How do I get this sprite guy to do all these amazing things?" the inertia seems to slow down to molasses. What you really want to do is break the whole project down into small steps and to reward yourself at each step.

The best reward for myself seems to be seeing my project actually work and improve step by step. So I'll make goals to see some functionality in action at certain steps. So I might start by developing the gui with no functionality from the controls. When you add in some routine and a button now does something its like... well its like getting a nibble from the carrot dangling in front of you.

Yummy, carrorts

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This is a great comment! –  David Gao Sep 3 '12 at 13:34

Start Small!

Your probably overwhelming yourself with so many cool ideas that you have no idea where you should begin.

I wanted to program graphics and make a game, but I found if I started thinking too big, I would never get started and felt overwhelmed. So I said, lets just get a sprite walking around a screen. Two weeks later I have many other components and the project is just naturally growing.

Like others have said, Google a tutorial and hit the ground running!

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Useful advice in my own situation, actually. There's a project I want to do that I have yet to start because I have an idea of what I want the grand finale to look like, but getting started will take ages. –  Corey Jan 11 '11 at 4:08

For years I sat in my comfort zone with VB5. That's what I knew; Visual Basic defined my comfort zone. I ran into limitations though. I could only do so much and I thought that was okay.

I took a long break from programming because it got boring. When I decided to re-enter the world of programming, I went back to VB6. Bah...same rutt!!! Then I heard about C#, .Net...and VB.Net. That's when it hit me - my comfort zone is what kept me from growing. So, I intentionally avoided anything VB.

Whatever it is that interests you will only remain out of reach if you don't reach for it. The point is that you have to be willing to step outside that comfort zone and explore. Pick one new thing. Research it, start a small project to implement each new thing you have learned.

Over the last 2-3 years, I have explored asynchronous TCP communication, wrote an extensible framework with GDI+ GUI controls, graduated to Managed Extensibility Framework, dabbled in writing a bootstrap (hooray for assembly) and succeeded in booting my PC from a floppy, and I am now exploring XNA and Task Parallel Library.

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+1 for "it's only out of reach if you don't reach for it." –  Gary Rowe Jan 11 '11 at 7:52
+1: That 3rd paragraph is good advice no matter what profession you chose. –  John Jan 11 '11 at 18:36

You could start small and try some of the many unanswered questiosn on StackOverflow: people who get no replies are usually grateful, so you know it's truly useful at least to one other person too, and it might you the instinct to code snipplets, then grow into bigger programs over time.

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I don't think the unanswered questions are good for a beginner. The whole reason they are unanswered is that they are on so obscure topics that few people can answer them. –  John Jan 11 '11 at 0:33
I meant that he might not always find the answer, but it might give him the spark of curiosity required to get projects started. –  wildpeaks Jan 11 '11 at 8:57

Find a project that is useful to you. It will hold your interest and keep you motivated to work on it. Don't worry if another version already exists, create one that just has the features you need. Break it down into small enough pieces that you not get overwhelmed and avoid it.

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You mentioned there is software already, but there has to be something you would change/do differently to improve the application. Do any of them have user sites with unfulfilled requests?

Whatever you do, someone is going to come by and tell you to consider something else; that's what it's all about. You can always change it, but you need to get started on something.

Start coding.

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make sittings goals , for example in one sitting u will achieve this that will keep u interested and u will have a feeling of a achiever after the sitting ,that will keep u going.

Seeing your things bundled after the some sitting you will be more interested and will urge yourself toward the end.

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I won't down vote you for you're bad spelling, or grammar but, please simply type two more characters when spelling "you". Honestly not that hard! Anyways I agree with this approach, I find setting time frames opposed to goals helps a lot. Perhaps I'll throw on a 30-40 minute album and tell myself to work until the end of that, or I'll look at the clock and say for the next 45 minutes I'm going to work. Once that time is up I find I'm usually so involved with what I'm working on, I can't take a break. I still do try though! Sitting goals, they do work! – –  cdnicoll Jan 11 '11 at 18:59

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