Peer pressured

“Until you spread your wings, you’ll have no idea how far you can fly.”
— Source unknown

Sometimes the best way to do something is the exact opposite of what you’ve thought was the right way to do it. That’s essentially what happened here, but I should take a step back and give you, dear reader to this brand new blog, some direly-needed contextual information.

My name is Faruk Ateş, I am a web developer by profession, a writer and photographer by passion and a 25-year-old half-Dutch, half-Turkish male by nature—literally. Between 2004 and 2007, I ran a website on web development best practices and programming over on kurafire.net. It was a site I had designed myself, I’d created both front– and back-end myself, and I wrote all of its content. To the extent that a website can, KuraFire.net defined me as a person in every way.

I list these things not to show off or to brag, I list them because there is a fundamentally important link between how I created that website and who I am as a person. Also, why I created the site, but that is of lesser relevance right now.

Being a passionate programmer, web developer and advocate of web standards and best practices — as well as a little OCD — I felt compelled to make sure that every individual piece, every component of the website, lived up to my tenaciously high standards.

What that really means is that I was a control freak about my site and my content.

Moving on, in 2007 I effectively laid the site to rest because of a job change and a variety of technical and personal reasons I won’t bother you with. I had planned, and still do, to create a new version of my site based on a new back-end framework I had discovered: Django. What has kept me from doing so is a combination of 1) technical reasons with regards to Django and finding a good Django-friendly webhost (although that has changed in recent times), 2) a long-lasting indecision on coming up with a new design that I was happy with and 3) lack of time.

Unfortunately for me, I was getting itchy fingers and, especially in the past few months, I felt the urge to write again get stronger and stronger. Alas, I had no platform to speak on and for some of the things I wanted to write, having a platform was not just important; it was the reason for the writing in the first place.

For months I was stuck in this catch-22 where I was either uninspired or had no time to work on furthering my new design and site, or I was inspired but it made me want to write, and not code or design. Either way, I wasn’t interested in using a ready-made blogging system to get a site going — I’d tried them before and never liked their limitations, interfaces etc.

So what’s changed? After all, you’re reading this on a WordPress-powered blog with a nearly untouched theme; clearly something convinced me to stop waiting until I had my own site designed, built and ready to go, and just go ahead and write a blog again, using a pre-made solution. What was it that convinced me?

Peer pressure. The good kind, anyway.

At a small social event in San Francisco last Tuesday, four of my friends and coworkers strongly — very strongly — encouraged me to get back to blogging again. I pointed out that I wanted to write my own back-end and create my own design first, but they wouldn’t have any of it. They were very persistent in getting their point across to me.

This post is evidence that I listened.

What I eventually realized that night was that my desire for control was a blessing but also a curse. A blessing in that it has forced me to learn all about the finer details of web development excellence, leaving me with a somewhat respectable amount of knowledge in the field; a curse in that it has kept me from spreading my wings fully and dedicating the times I had something to say, or the times I was simply inspired to write, to actual productive writing.

In addition to that, a few events in my personal life also helped convince me to forego my desire for full control, and live my life a little more on edge, a little riskier you might say—personally, I’m just calling it a little healthier.

So here I am, facing a brand new beginning once more. I’m excited, but not enough to warrant an exclamation mark. It’s a subdued excitement mixed with anticipation of much greater excitement to come as I get my writing groove back.

Over the coming weeks I will write a bit more about myself and elaborate on that “once more” in full, as there’s a bit of a story to be told there. After that, I plan on writing mostly — but never limited to — about my greater passions in life: web design & development; photography; writing and storytelling; social networks, and businesses trying to figure out this fandangled new thing called The Internet. Because many of them treat it like it really is a brand new concept to them—unfortunately for all of us.

On a closing note, I want to stress that this site is currently heavily under development! There are tons of changing coming in the weeks and months ahead, with pieces of the design shuffling around or changing entirely, content and organizational changes and so much more. I’ll keep you updated every time something significant changes, especially if it may disorient you as a returning visitor. I’d put a big “Beta” label somewhere if I were a Web 2.0 company, but since I’m just a guy with things to share in written form, I’m going to ignore that one.

As for you, dear reader, I hope you’ll enjoy my writing as this blog evolves, and I look forward to hearing from you from time to time.

If you liked this, you should follow me on Twitter!