Wow, this essay by Matt Gemmell is good:
I’ve come to a point in my life where I hesitate before telling people I’m a software developer. Am I, really? The answer is more complicated than I expected.
This really hits home for me. I’m not as far toward “writer” and away from “software developer” as Matt is, but I’m probably halfway there.
I’ve always defined myself as a programmer, but I’ve never been happy just programming. I’d hate to work on a large development team where that was my only role — in fact, the idea of writing code full-time for anyone doesn’t appeal to me anymore.
I love doing it as a means to a larger end, but I’m just not that into it as a profession anymore. In many ways, I always kept my distance a bit, never caring much for advanced methodologies, studying design patterns, proving algorithms, or learning cutting-edge languages before they’re stable and practical. I’ve always written code for the sake of making the product I wanted, not for the code’s own sake.
And for about the last six months, I’ve hardly written any code at all. Between selling Instapaper, running and then selling The Magazine, writing this site, co-hosting a very successful new podcast (and learning how to edit, publish, and monetize it), and trying to spend a healthy amount of time with my family, there hasn’t been much time left for development.
Am I really a programmer anymore?
To borrow from and paraphrase Merlin Mann (hopefully accurately), you are what you actually do, not what you think or wish that you did. So far, in 2013, I’m really a writer and podcaster (and, to an embarrassing degree, a Twitter user) with a programming hobby.
This is why I’ve been so aggressive about trying to get things off my plate: I’ve written and podcasted for years without issues, but for the last six months, I’ve basically replaced software development with paperwork, business and legal overhead, and bullshitting on Twitter.
And I’m going to need to change that if I want to launch anything again.