It took me some twenty-plus years to really learn how to program. It wasn’t for a lack of trying either, it was just that I was trying the wrong way. I tried to learn to program by following tutorials that created programs I didn’t have the slightest interest in keeping. I was trying to learn for the sake of learning.

Now I’m sure that works for some people. Intellectually curious for the sake of it. I envy you. But that’s not how it worked for me and I know that’s not how it works for a lot of other people.

What made it click for me was programming in anger. Programming because I needed to. Programming because I gave a damn about what I was writing and I wanted it done sooner rather than later.

That’s how I learned to program Ruby. By making it my mission to write Basecamp in it. When you’re learning on a mission, the order of things come really naturally. So what exactly do I have to do to get this messages section working in Ruby? Oh, I’ll need to do a loop here. Oh, I’ll need to get something from the database there.

Before you know it, you’re half-way done with your idea and you’ve accidentally learned how to do it too.

In short, you start with little bit of something real and make it tick. Then you make it tock.