'I Write About What I Know and What I Experience': Meet the Writer Jacob Landryby@halexmorph

'I Write About What I Know and What I Experience': Meet the Writer Jacob Landry

by Jacob LandryOctober 10th, 2021
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Jacob Landry is a Software Engineer and is a man of (too) many hobbies. He has worked in email marketing, advertising, and gaming. He is just starting to get his feet wet in the tech space. He writes about what he knows and what he experiences so his writing is all over the place, most of the time.
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This story is a part of Hacker Noon's Meet the Writer series of interviews. The series is intended for tech professionals contributing the most insightful Hacker Noon stories to share more about their writing habits, ideas, and professional background (and maybe a hobby or two).

If you too would like to start contributing to Hacker Noon, you can do so here.

So let’s start! Tell us a bit about yourself. For example, name, profession, and personal interests.

I’m Jacob Landry, I’m a Software Engineer, and it’s been two weeks since I last used StackOverflow. Most of my jobs have been full-stack, all focused on PHP, but my interests lie across the board in the programming space, and I’m always interested in learning new languages. Outside of development, I’m a man of (too) many hobbies. I write (creative and tech), play video games (Steam and Switch mostly), and 3D print, to name a few.

Interesting! What was your latest Hackernoon Top story about?

My most recent story was an initial dive into the basics of several different popular programming languages. My goal is to teach myself many of these languages, so why not record the process?

Do you usually write on similar topics? If not, what do you usually write about?

Over the past 12 years, I’ve done a lot of different things. I’ve worked in email marketing, advertising, and gaming. I’ve lived in Washington, Maine, California, and Oregon. I fell in love, got married, and started a family.

So there’s an awful lot of life to write about. I’ve had amazing bosses and absolutely terrible ones. I’ve had amazing projects and dead fish. I’ve had amazing days with the family and some that were absolute chaos.

I write about what I know and what I experience, so my writing is all over the place, most of the time.

I have a wealth of short stories that I’ve published here and there, but I’m really just starting to get my feet wet, especially in the tech space.

Great! What is your usual writing routine like (if you have one?)

OK so I’m going to skip the whole “my routine is important to me” script that everyone loves to brag about. I read an article recently about how Bezos relishes his morning routine and won’t have any meetings before 10 AM so that he can fully prepare for the day. Let’s skip the survivor bias and get down to brass tacks. Life is busy as hell. It never stops, rarely slows down, and constantly changes. Routines are important but hard to maintain at certain stages in life (cough), like when your wife gets 2 hours of sleep a night because of kids, and you have a full-time job (cough). So I plan.

Every day I have a set of tasks that I can do that day. I don’t HAVE to do them, but I can.

For the most part, each day is the same. Workout, get the kids breakfast, work, yadda yadda. But the evening is where it differs. Every Monday, I dedicated myself just to writing. It doesn’t matter what I write, but that’s what I do. I don’t have time every Monday.

Some nights the kids are up late, some nights, they’re sick, some nights, I have other responsibilities to attend to around the house, but if I have time, it’s for writing. Tuesdays are for video games. Wednesdays are for writing or working on a hobby project. Thursdays are just for hobby projects. Fridays and Saturdays are for videogames, and Sundays are to prepare for the week.

I’m getting long-winded here but I’m getting to the point (queue the “we get there when we get there’’ Incredibles meme). When I sit down to write, it’s intentional. And for me, that’s important. I don’t wander into my office one evening with nothing to do and think “ah, maybe I’ll write tonight!” I have a specific day and time set aside to say, “OK, tonight if you can, you’re gonna write the heck out of some article or story”. And I do it. I just sit down and write. The first draft is godawful because I’m not in the right mindset. I’m thinking about work or my day. The second draft isn’t much better. The third, still garbage.

But the fourth draft… that’s still terrible usually…

But eventually, I find a rhythm, and I start to feel good about myself. I begin to get into what I’m writing, I find that glorious groove that everyone seeks, and then I just write. Usually, I’m up far too late, and the next morning is rough, what with the kids and the job and all, but it’s worth it. Once those creative juices are flowing, you have to let them go.

Being a writer in tech can be a challenge. It’s not often our main role, but an addition to another one. What is the biggest challenge you have when it comes to writing?

I think the long-winded digression above really answers this. It’s all about time. Time is the one resource that we can never earn more of. (That’s probably something, don’t quote me. I just read Tuesdays With Morrie again, so check there). You can work to earn money, vacations, thing

You can never earn back the time you lose. And it’s the hardest thing to control. If I had infinite amounts of time, I would write all day. My five-year-old once told my wife, “I want to write a story,” and her response was, without hesitation:

“Do it. If your dad could, he’d write all day.”

She’s absolutely right. But I can’t write all day; I have to work and be an active member of the human race (though they’re a bit overrated if you ask me). Finding the time is the biggest challenge you’ll ever face, but when you find it, it’s golden.

What is the next thing you hope to achieve in your career?

To become independently wealthy and retire at the young age of… oh who am I kidding, I’m old. I started at some smaller companies, and now I’m at one of the largest companies in the valley… and I just can’t say that I’m “happy” (professionally speaking).

For a long time, I set my hobby projects aside, in fear of a DNC that is probably not as strict as I assumed. The next big thing for me is to follow my dreams. (LOL). OK, actually, it’s just to continue down some roads frequently traveled, building things that I love or need. At the end of the day, I just want to be proud of the things I’ve built, whether it was for a big company or for myself.

Wow, that’s admirable. Now, something more casual: What is your guilty pleasure of choice?

Oh dear, that’s a tough one. My hobbies take up most of my time, and I don’t necessarily feel “guilty” about any of them. I suppose it would have to be IPAs. If I have a responsibility-free night (or at least a light-responsibility one), I could easily be found trying out a new IPA (the more hops, the better).

Dungeons and Dragons. With the pandemic, I haven’t been able to play at all. There are definitely online avenues that you can pursue role-playing in, but none of them have really caught me. Hopefully, someday soon, we can roll some dice again.

What can the Hacker Noon community expect to read from you next?

Well, I’ve committed to this “learning new languages” series that I’m excited about and definitely will continue down that course. I’ve also, recently, taken a decent amount of time off at work and, in turn, have had a ton of stuff to fix when I return, so I’m thinking of writing some articles on “destruction-free programming.” Writing and committing code in such a way that you can instantly reverse it with no ill effects if needed. Working on a team is fantastic until you don’t get to monitor the PRs for a week.

I’m always dedicated to bettering myself and learning, so when I have a person in my life that makes an impact, I do whatever I can to learn from them.

So I’m also considering writing some of the bits of wisdom that have been shared with me and how they have impacted my life over the years.

Thanks for taking time to join our “Meet the writer” series. It was a pleasure. Do you have any closing words?

I only recently discovered Hackernoon, and I’m really excited about the community. I’m loving the posts that I’ve read and I’m enjoying the response to my own work. So keep on writing and keep on reading! I’m happy to be here.