With hacking, you never have to worry how something is going to come out. Software doesn't "come out." If there's something you don't like, you change it. So programming has the same relaxing quality as building stuff out of Lego. You know you're going to win in the end. Succeeding is simply a matter of defining what winning is, and possibly spending a lot of time getting there. Those can be hard, but not frightening.I guess he doesn't understand because he's such a great hacker, even though he's a very good writer too. I wondered how this fitted into the Laws of Ignorance. It could be an unknown unknown, error or taboo but I guess I'll never know. It's interesting how very smart people can have blind spots.
Whereas writing is like painting. You don't have the same total control over the medium. In fact, you probably wouldn't want it. When it's going well, painting from life is something you do in hardware. There are stretches where perception flows in through your eye and out through your hand, with no conscious intervention. If you tried to think consciously about each motion your hand was making, you'd just produce something stilted.
The result is that writing and painting have an ingredient that's missing in hacking and Lego: suspense. An essay can come out badly. Or at least, you worry it can.
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