my avatar, a simple three line smiley face programming is fun?

On the 31st of July, 2022 I made the first commit to my Minecraft mod Lighty, the light overlay with a twist! Back then, this small, little project, born out of the lack of a working light overlay mod for the specific Minecraft version my friends and I were playing on, brought back the joy of programming to me after a long time of not having fun while programming at all.

Back when I started learning how to program a bazillion years ago, it was fun. I programmed because I wanted to play around, learn stuff, make the computer do things for me. Everything was new and exciting!

But over time, the fun of programming slowly faded. Everything felt like work. It seemed like I got nothing done. I abandoned project after project. They just took way too long to implement, were too big in scope, and what started as a fun idea quickly became boring, tedious work.

There is another project besides Lighty that was fun to do: Simple Web Hook, swh for short. I wanted to restart a docker container using a webhook whenever I pushed to a git repo. I sat down for maybe one or two afternoons, wrote the thing, and then just stopped working on it. It works for me, why should I change it?

Lighty was initially a very fun project to work on. But nowadays, I just... don't want to work on it? See, I hardly play any Minecraft currently, so justifying some of my already limited free time to work on a thing that I don't even currently use seems like a huge waste of time.

There's also another thing: Lighty has become kind of big. Not huge, but the most recent version has 4444 downloads on Modrinth at the time of writing—which is crazy to me. People all over the world are using something I made, something that I could still improve. There are also other people with great ideas that fit Lighty perfectly, and I love the interactions I had with other people that use Lighty—some giving me praise, saying that they love Lighty, some needing help with a problem they encountered, some having great suggestions for additions. For now, I didn't have a single bad interaction with people using Lighty, which I am very greatful for.

With that many people using Lighty, I just feel weird. On the one hand, it is totally amazing that many people are using it! On the other hand, it kinda makes myself put pressure on me, because I know its quirks and rough edges.

I don't think of myself as a programmer. I mean, sure, I can program. I'm also a programming tutor. I made a piece of software that was downloaded a total of 24 thousand times and that is used by 4444 people at the time of writing. But programming isn't my passion. My passion is electrical engineering. I like to make things. Like, things you can touch, not just software. I like solving problems. Lighty, as far as I am concerned, is a solved problem with some small problems still remaining to be dealt with, but they are no deal breakers.

I have a few programming projects that are in some kind of unfinished state, and I don't know what to do with them. Some I want to keep working on, like Lighty. Some aren't even working as is, some are good enough.

I think I'll go through all of those projects this weekend and decide what to do with them. Life is too short to waste it on stuff that isn't fun.

Programming can be fun. I think if I limit myself to small, short programming projects, programming can once again be fun for me.