Writing is difficult!

October 12, 2020

Writing is definitely difficult, as is evident by the 3 and half year gap between this and my last post!

Not only the writing but I also find coming up with ideas of things to write difficult. Technical writing is something that I always want to do more of, however I find myself never knowing what to write and when I do find something, it’s been done a million times already so I never bother!

For the articles I read and think “I wish I’d known that and written about it”, the authors have usually found something out by doing a task. They’ve stumbled across something through necessity. It’s similar, to how people come across ideas for their side projects (or even main businesses). I need to do X, nobody does X so I shall build a system to do it and sell it. Alternatively, I need to do X, I’ve learnt how to do X, now I shall write an article and blog about it!

In recent years I’ve found myself going round in circles trying to find the perfect side project idea, failing, finding another, failing and so on. These projects have usually been a standard API or a fairly standard SaaS system, rarely have they provided a challenge that needed solving and therefore supplied good article material.

With focussing so much on trying to find the perfect side project, I’ve also rarely found myself in a position where I build something for fun, “how do I build this?” or “how does this work?”. Other things that usually lead to learning more and providing ideas for things to write and share.

Things that I have tried, I’ve never had the motivation to finish as the next side project idea comes along and the desire to make extra cash on the side takes over that yearning for wanting to learn something new.

Well, hopefully it stops here. While I am still heavily focussed on taking my current side project, ServerAuth, as far as possible (especially now we have a paying customer!), I am taking this opportunity to start a record of the CMS I am intending on building.

My very rough plan, is to build out a modular CMS in Laravel. There are definitely a few great options out there already, Statamic and Jigsaw are two that spring to mind. But, on the database driven front, I don’t feel there are as many great options.

With this build, my ultimate goal is to have a CMS that is great for developers to build upon with Laravel at its core but also a great CMS for people to use, much like (for all its sins) WordPress. The side goal with this, ties into the “modular” part of it. I want to make well tested modules that a developer could install and use in their own project, separate from the CMS. e.g. The first module I’ve built already is a package to handle theme management. This in theory could be dropped in to and setup in any Laravel project!

My hope is that forcing myself to build this and write about the modules I’m building, even if it’s just a “I’ve built this new module it can do X, Y, Z” type article, it will force me to write more and hopefully down the line lead to more things as I write about other aspects of building the CMS.

Assuming I can stay motivated throughout writing the documentation for the module, I should have a write up of the Theme Manager module in the coming months.

If you want to check out the package so far you can find it at https://github.com/Aldrumo. Aldrumo (I’ve been pronouncing it Al-Drew-Mo), is what I’m calling the CMS! It’s an anagram of “modular”, gotta love those online generators!

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© 2020 Mike Barlow