You Don’t Have to do What Everyone Else is Doing

This post is geared towards coding, but I think the exact same principals can be applied to blogging!

Monday night I had a meltdown.

I code all my projects in a program called PhpStorm. PhpStorm also compiles my SCSS for me using something called a File Watcher. The general logic works like this:

I create a File Watcher and tell it to keep an eye on all of my SCSS files. Whenever I update the SCSS file, it should compile it and spit out a matching CSS file automatically. That’s how I code in SCSS, but have a final CSS file that I can actually use on the web.

Well, Monday night I was setting up a new project and my File Watcher just broke. For absolutely no reason at all, it stopped triggering. So even when I made changes to my SCSS file, a CSS file wasn’t being outputted!

I spent like an hour doing all kinds of debugging, Googling, setting-changing, EVERYTHING! AND IT STILL WASN’T WORKING!

So I had a meltdown. It was this kind of meltdown:

Why is it broken?? I didn’t do anything wrong!
I didn’t even change any settings!
Now I can’t do any work!
Ohmygod I can never do any more work… ever…
What if I can never use SCSS again?
Please don’t make me go back to using normal CSS.
I CAN’T GO BACK!!!!!!!!

I literally ran to my room, slammed the door, and crawled pathetically into bed.

Once I was confident that I could restrain the tears, I started reading up on Gulp.js (still in bed, on my phone). I had heard of Gulp before and knew what is was. Most importantly (to me, in that moment), it can compile SCSS into CSS files. I also knew that everyone and their mother uses it. At least, a lot of the “top developers” use it. So, I thought I had to use it too. What came next went something like this:

<< Ashley comes crawling out of the bedroom. >>

Ashley: “Husband, I need to learn how to use Gulp.”
Coding God: “I have no idea what that is. I don’t do front end development.”

<< Ashley’s eyes start watering. >>

Coding God: “Well, we can at least install it…”

Cue like three hours of me in front of my computer, husband sitting beside me, installing Node.js, Gulp.js, editing packages and config files, downloading starter frameworks, freaking out whenever something didn’t work as expected…

I’m pretty sure my husband was sitting there thinking, “I married a crazy person.”

At some point that night, I filled out a support ticket with the folks behind PhpStorm, explaining my situation, but I was still determined that THIS WAS THE END and I needed to switch to using Gulp.

The next day…

I woke up to a lovely response from the PhpStorm folks in my inbox, and their suggestion of clicking the “Invalidate Cache / Restart” button fixed everything. Now I’m sitting there thinking:

“Lol why did I install Gulp? I don’t need it. PhpStorm works perfectly fine for me. God, I was nuts.”


I think I finally realized that even if Gulp is awesome and does loads of cool things, the only thing I really wanted was something to compile my SCSS into CSS. That’s all I need. I didn’t need to switch to a whole new system to achieve that. I just needed to be patient and figure out how to fix the stupid bug in my existing system.

Gulp isn’t for me, I don’t need to use it just because everyone else is

Don’t get me wrong, I did get a little snapshot of what Gulp is capable of. It does a lot more than just compile SCSS. It can automatically compress images, get files ready for distribution, install packages, yada yada. I can see why people use it. BUT, PhpStorm and File Watchers work perfectly fine for me and my set up.

We all have different workflows and programs and don’t have to follow “the norm” or what everyone else is doing. Sometimes things do go wrong, but if you have more than 3 seconds of patience, you’ll get it figured out. You don’t need to go running to the popular tools under the impression that, “they’re prefect and my normal tools clearly suck ass.”

Have you ever had a massive breakdown over something stupid?

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I'm a 30-something California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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  1. Aww I totally feel you Ashley. I could relate to you because I had a homework for my compsci class like months ago… We had to create a program that would calculate the area of a square with a circle inside it and I swear, I almost had a meltdown when my code didn’t work when I debugged it… all because I think I was missing a freakin semicolon lol.

    1. Yeah, those darn semicolons! I’ve totally spent aaaaages debugging code just to have it be something small and stupid.

  2. LOL!! I only understood half of what you were saying but that half was funny! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Well, I did something the other day that I, myself, do not consider stupid at all while some people said it was stupid… -_- I DIDN’T KNOW WHERE I PUT MY BOOK AND I WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF IT AND IT WAS THE BEST PART AND I DIDN’T KNOW WHERE I LAST PUT IT!!!! I may or may not screamed and acted crazy… I was all mopey and sad that night and when I went to school the next morning, guess what I found sitting there, perfectly unaware of the horrific nightmare it put me through? Yep… *sigh* -_-”
    Great Post! ๐Ÿ˜€


    1. Hahaha I completely understand! Do not come between a girl and her book when you’re at the best part/climax.

      Actually, don’t come between a girl and her book.. Ever.

  3. I totally understand you! (even not knowing this code stuff at all).
    Your post remembered me of a Haruki Murakami’s quote: “โ€œIf you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.โ€
    Same principle ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Err my problem was computer related as well, only it involved MS Word and page numbers (so, you know, nothing hi-tech) for an assignment in college. I sobbed in exhaustion while my computer programmer husband (then boyfriend) patted me awkwardly on the head and tried to fix the thing for me. So I’m quite familiar with this ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’m pretty sure guys do the same thing, only it involves less tears and more banging on the keyboard/cursing/being vile to the people around them… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Kaja recently posted: Tough Travels: Bugs
    1. Aww. There are a lot of things in Word and Excel that I don’t know how to do.. probably because I don’t use either program very often except for very basic stuff.

  5. I use to have a breakdown about everything that ever went wrong. And sure, stuff like that will stress me out, but now I have this calm about these situations. I just tell myself eventually I will figure this out or something will be fixed, and I just have to wait until someone responds to me or I find the solution. Those are my only options so why stress too much over something I can’t do much about? Kinds of like death, lol.

    Jennifer Bielman recently posted: Review: Wild Justice by Kelley Armstrong
  6. I’ve done this on more than one occasion. I do a lot of coding for emails. I will have something working perfectly in my tests and I’ll send it to an inbox test to check all the different browsers and inbox types and something will be off. Hours later, I’m still trying to figure out why stuff that shouldn’t be wrapping on desktop is wrapping in hotmail, and only hotmail or more likely Outlook, which is evil. Once I started wondering around the office saying that Microsoft was the Anti-Christ. Funny thing was that all the developers agreed with me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Melanie Simmons (@mlsimmons) recently posted: Night Shift Audiobook by Singh, Andrews, Shearin & Vane.
    1. I don’t blame you. I’m really looking forward to the day when email formatting becomes:

      1. More advanced (tables.. kill me now..)
      2. More consistent across apps/platforms

  7. Well, yes, I did. When suddenly you’re stopped dead in your work and after searching for a while, you can’t see a solution to it, you – or at least I – can panic. But you do get over it, that’s what important. You fixed your issue AND you tried a new techno, which is always a good thing. It’s great!
    I didn’t try Gulp but I did try Grunt (similar thing) in the past. I really liked it, it was quite straightforward. The important is to feel comfy when we code, so as you said, no point in using Gulp if you have the perfect IDE already ๐Ÿ™‚

    Angรฉlique recently posted: Review: The Leopard by K.V. Johansen
  8. I pretty much have a meltdown these days only over the smallest things. I like to blame it all on teenage hormones though, haha. ๐Ÿ˜‰ School can get overwhelming, so whenever stupid programs like Word crash, I freak the heck out because that’s what I save everything on. So I totally feel! I’m glad you got everything working again, though. Crashes can be the scariest things.

    I love how well this post applies to blogging. I’ve been thinking of doing a revamp with the direction of my blog, because I don’t want to be just another book blog. I want a blog that’s personal, bookish, but something people love coming back to, or love reading posts from (like I do with your blog!!). So I’m nervous/excited to be wanting to try something new.

    Lovely post! <3

    Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life recently posted: Giveaway: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
    1. Same here! I never stress about big things.

      Huge test coming up?
      Meh, I’ll study the night before.

      Deadling TOMORROW?
      Whatevs, I’ll get it done.

      Teeny tiny insignificant thing breaks?

      I think it will be fantastic for you to try something new with your blog! The blogs that incorporate a little bit of everything (personal, bookish, plus the x factor) are quickly becoming my favourites. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I’m not a coder, but I can relate to this from a for-profit blogging standpoint. I keep panicking about Facebook engagement (I have virtually none – just a couple of friends and family, and one or two strangers who apparently LOVE my Instagram pictures I share to Facebook), and about “threads” (20-50 bloggers enter links they want promoted into various Facebook comment threads, and everyone reciprocates shares and comments (or whatever that thread’s about), to boost engagement on everything from blog posts to Pinterest to Twitter). The problem is I don’t want to artificially inflate my engagement. It’s not the kind of writing I’m doing, I’m increasingly unimpressed with the fakey comments I tend to get when they’re forced to leave them (and I don’t really enjoy trying to come up with my own for their posts, either, and feel bad if I don’t do a good job every time), and…I’m not sure it’s worth it. When I stop worrying about what I “should” do, my blog grows. When I get caught up in threads, I tend to see a decline in organic engagement. Not cool. So I’m rethinking things, as I prepare to relaunch after rebranding.

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