DEV Community

Cover image for Discussion of the Week - v1
Michael Tharrington for The DEV Team

Posted on • Updated on

Discussion of the Week - v1

Based on our previous series, Discussion and Comment of the Week, we've launched this weekly roundup to highlight what we believe to be the most thoughtful and/or interesting discussion over the past week!

Notably, we've dropped the Comment of the Week from this series, but we plan on bringing back the Beloved Comment badge to replace it. Stay tuned!

Any folks whose articles we feature here will be rewarded with our Discussion of the Week badge. ✨

The Discussion of the Week badge. It includes a roll of thread inside a speech bubble. The thread is a reference to comment threads.

Let's roll! 🛼

The Discussion of the Week

Give it up for Srikanth (aka @svemaraju) for sharing the wonderful discussion "How do you stay creative as a dev?"! 👏

These open-ended discussions are always so much fun, and the responses here are thoughtful and genuinely very helpful. Hearing other folk's methods for keeping themselves engaged and thinking creatively is both practical and inspiring.

I also love how Srikanth hopped into the comments to drop some of their own notes here:

I will kick off the discussion. Here's something I scribbled on my notes when I was wondering about this.

  • Creativity comes from having freedom to imagine new solutions. For example you are asked to solve a problem and you are free to do so without having to be constrained by legacy codebase.
  • Creativity comes from constraints. Paradoxical to the above, creative solutions can often arise from having to satisfy many constaints. For example, you have limited computational resources, time, developer resources etc; and you will have to come up with a solution that falls under such circumstances.
  • Creativity comes from lateral thinking. Getting exposed to different problem domains can enhance your awareness and allow you to borrow solutions applied to different problems to your own problem. For example you explore different programming langauge and get exposed to a completely new way of writing code. You can bring that to your main programming language and apply to different problem domains.
  • Creativity comes from depth. When you are able to study a field in significant depth, more than what many people do. You are able process problems in a better way, you can connect various obscure dots in that field that can lead to creative solutions

By the way, props to Jake Lundberg (aka @wraith) for leaving this particularly helpful comment:

Great question! This is probably a much larger topic, as it pertains to many different industries, personalities, tasks, scopes, mediums, etc. but here are a few things that work for me very consistently:

Empty your mind of clutter

It's hard to get creative when your mind keeps jumping back and forth between all the things on your mind.

  • Don't forget to email Sam.
  • I need to leave early today to go to the pharmacy. Gotta let the boss know. Should probably call the pharmacy to make sure my prescription is ready.
  • What was that thing Debbie asked me to do yesterday?
  • Oh look, another meeting scheduled for this afternoon.

The list of course goes on and on. If you are trying to keep all this in your head, you aren't thinking about the creative stuff you want to. Find methods and implement systems that let you get all that junk out of your head where you know it will be maintained and you can easily find it later. This frees up your brain to think creatively.

I highly recommend the book "Getting Things Done" by David Allen for this. The GTD system has had an amazing impact on my life.

Get away from the computer

I tend to have many of my best ideas when I was doing something else. Get away from the computer for a little while and expose yourself to other sources of inspiration. Maybe that scene in a movie will spark something, perhaps that conversation with a friend over a drink will lead you down a rabbit hole of an idea, or maybe you will get inspired by that really fun hole at the local mini golf course. Don't just try to force creativity. Let life inspire it.

Make it a habit to write down ALL your ideas

Chances are, you've had tons of creative ideas, but you forgot them because the human brain really isn't that good at remembering stuff. Figure out a system that works for you where you can quickly write down all the ideas you have (even the hilariously bad or ridiculous ones), wherever you have them. I personally use Obsidian on my phone for this (or I tell Siri to remind me of the idea later when my hands aren't fill). Then when I'm seeking ideas or inspiration later, I refer back to my list. This has been immensely helpful for me.

There are obviously many methods and techniques out there, as this is a pretty hot topic around the world. But these are some of the ways that have worked best for me personally. I hope they might help you also!

Jake has been sharing lots of comments like this one. We see ya out there helping and encouraging others, Jake — much appreciated! 🙌

What are your picks?

The DEV Community is particularly special because of the kind, thoughtful, helpful, and entertaining discussions happening between community members. As such, we want to encourage folks to participate in discussions and reward those who are initiating or taking part in conversations across the community. After all, a community is made possible by the people interacting inside it.

There are loads of great discussions floating about in this community. This just the one we chose to highlight. 🙂

I urge you all to share your favorite discussion of the past week below in the comments. And if you're up for it, give the author an @mention — it'll probably make 'em feel good. 💚

Top comments (0)