Coding and PoetryJun WuBlockedUnblockFollowFollowingMay 29Writing both allowed me to create a unique style.
comI’m a coder through and through.
Before I started coding, in my childhood, I was good with languages.
By the age of 14, I mastered the basics of the Chinese language (written and spoken), one Chinese dialect and the English language.
In my adulthood, I picked up Japanese (written and spoken).
At one point, my favorite way of speaking was to mix all three languages in conversation.
Few of my friends understood what I was talking about.
In college, without a computer science degree, I devoured programming books by myself.
By the time I graduated, I was writing in Perl and scripting in Shell.
After my first two years of working, I mastered SQL and learned object-oriented programming in Java.
Language is my specialty.
I thrive on learning it, practicing using it and using it creatively.
There’s beauty in code as in poetryFrom my childhood, I have always loved poetry.
I loved reading and writing Chinese poetry in my early childhood.
I loved reading and writing poetry in English in my early adulthood.
The lyrical verses are both beautiful to memorize and to recite.
The fluid way that poetry rolls off my tongue remind me of a song.
The concise construction of the poetry stanzas reminds me of the geometric shapes found in modern architecture.
A poem is beautiful to read, to look at and to inspire emotions.
Comparatively, a piece of code can seem cold, function-oriented and lacking emotions.
But, I’ve found a different kind of beautiful in code.
Code is perfect in its logic.
Each step is a point on the map that points to the next step.
It ebbs and flows in perfect sequence.
Code is perfect in its rhythm.
There’s a rhythm to the act of coding that generates the rhythm of entire programs that make up entire systems.
The rhythms form beats inside the program that beats louder as programs stack up to create an entire object-oriented flow.
Code is perfect in its efficiency.
When a few lines make up a perfect algorithm for solving a human problem, I bow to the efficiency of this code.
Sometimes, simple is absolutely beautiful.
A piece of code is beautiful in its logic, rhythm, and its simplicity.
Writing code has the same creative process as writing poetryI have the same creative process for writing code as I have for writing poetry.
I draw a picture first.
This is why people often compliment me on the intense imagery of my poems.
This is also why people appreciate the diagrams I show them of my programs to make sense of the whole.
Before writing poetry, I create a picture in my mind of the emotions that I want to write about.
I also hold down to every imagery inside my poems and savor them in my mind.
Then, poetic verses just come out from those intense feelings and imageries.
Before writing code, I make notes in my notebook of each program I need to write for the “big picture”.
I imagine them as bricks that I’m laying to build a whole building.
I try to come up with the most simple design and hold that picture in my mind.
When I write code, the image of the design helps me generate the rhythm and beat of the piece of code that I’m trying to write.
For a visual person such as myself, image is everything.
Writing code involves the same emotional journey as writing poetryFor me, writing code and writing poetry are both emotional journeys.
I love spending hours writing both.
I often cannot be interrupted when I’m in the flow of both activities.
There’s a compulsion to finish writing.
Otherwise, I will think about my unfinished creation all day.
There’s a kind of obsession in working on a piece of code.
I feel crazy at the fact that I literally will debug a system for a whole day to figure out this tiny detail that went wrong.
I don’t let it go.
Sometimes, I feel that the act of debugging is just some masochistic pursuit.
I somehow revel in the pain and I continue.
There’s a kind of compulsion in writing poetry.
I feel physically emersed in the poetic verses that I write.
Each word typed out is almost an extension of my current feeling and my current being.
The compulsion to choose the right word for the right stanza is afflicting.
I often read my poems 50 to 100 hundred times before I release them to the public simply to scrutinize my own word choices.
I can’t stop the effort because I feel pain at reading my own poetry with the wrong word in it.
The worst kind of pain and frustration comes when I realize that I’ve spent hours walking on the wrong path.
When my programs lead me down a rabbit hole that is completely flawed logic, I feel frustration, fear and devastation.
I often need a day of letting it all go before I’m in the right mindset to begin again.
Sometimes, my poems cannot be finished.
In the middle of working on it, I realize that I have chosen the wrong emotion and the wrong images to work on, I also feel frustration, fear, and devastation.
At that moment, I probably can’t even start on a new poem.
It’s not my ego.
It’s my imposter syndrome that creeps up behind me.
Then, I need to recuperate.
The same language constructs are used in poetry as in codeWhen you learn different languages, you start to notice patterns.
Intuitively, I developed a process for myself by learning different languages.
I first learn about 100 nouns and phrases that will get me through the hurdle of beginning to write or to speak in that language.
Then, I learn all about grammar.
After that, I start to write my own sentences and speak in my own way.
Slowly, I accumulate more and more vocabulary.
Eventually, I learn all the grammatical constructions in that language.
Then, I work on speaking and writing in that language.
Same is true of learning a programming language.
I learn the concepts of programming first.
Then, I learn the syntax in detail of that particular language.
Slowly, I move on from learning to code one task to the next using the language.
Eventually, I move on to creating entire systems bringing together all the functional components I just learned to write.
In poetry, I see the precision I use to choose words, phrases, stanza layout and imagery.
In code, I see the concise steps that formulate each of my programs.
I strive for a simple, to the point functional piece of code.
The result is a style that is simple, logical, and concise for both my poetry and my code.
This is how I like to live life — a minimalistic approach that speaks to the soul without so many words or code.
Are you a coder or a writer?.Do you do both?.Better yet, are you an artist and a writer?.When pursuing two creative activities in conjunction with one another, do we become better at both?.For me, I find that the process of pursuing both helps me refine my own styles and approaches for both activities.
About the AuthorJun Wu is a Content Writer for Technology, AI, Data Science, Psychology, and Parenting.
She has a background in programming and statistics.
On her spare time, she writes poetry and blogs on her parenting website: wellplayedchild.
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