This weeks pattern, Sustainable Motivation, is actually is very appropriate given the project I and my team have been working on over the last semester. Though it probably would have been more helpful to have read this pattern much, much sooner in the semester. However, it will still be helpful in the future, so better late than never as they say.
Most people who program do it because at least on some level they enjoy programming and writing code. Thinking up solutions to interesting problems, implementing your ideas and thoughts into reality, solving a problem that is actually real with your own hard work, all of this motivates many people who get into programming. Also those that love technology and get excited at the prospect of using and learning more uses for it.
However, becoming a software craftsman and getting into the professional software developing world has its down sides. Mainly that most projects that others are willing to pay you to do are projects that someone needs to be payed to do. A project that is noting but tedium instead of problem solving. Or a project with very, very vague definitions. The gist of it being a project most people would not want to do normally.
Real life projects are not always glamorous. They can be frustrating, annoying, tedious, and just plain demoralizing. To the point that it might make some consider quitting, even those that are in the profession for nothing but the money. The key to overcoming this is to sustain your motivation.
The best way to do this is to consider the Long Road ahead of yourself. Just imagine the future before you and where you imagine yourself being. By doing this you can keep your motivation by focusing on a further goal than just completing the demotivating project before you.
While the project we have worked on this past semester was not exactly demoralizing, it was very frustrating. It involved attempting to learn many things I previously did not know. The process of constantly running into more new concepts every step of the way was frustrating, it felt like my progress and momentum hit a speedbump many times throughout. Despite that, progress was made, knowledge was gained, and at the end of the semester my motivations for becoming a programmer remain. I am still on the Long Road.