Ryan Martinsen

Letting a Side Project Die

I don’t like creating HTML forms. Form building websites are generally focused on people who don’t write much code, if any at all. I wanted to build a form generator for programmers. I wanted to build forms in a nice graphical interface and have it output the code for whatever language or framework I needed them for.

I’m perfectly capable of building this, so I figured I should. Here’s how things went:

  • I registered formyard.com in February 2009 with grand visions and aspirations.
  • Wrote down some ideas in October 2009.
  • Ate a lot of ice cream in 2010.
  • Traveled a bunch and got married in 2011.
  • Talked to a friend about it in November 2012.
    • Almost purchased formknight.com as a result.
  • Someone offered to buy the domain in August 2012.
  • First commit to the project was made in April 2013!
  • Last commit to the project was made in September 2013.
  • I didn’t sleep for most of 2014 because my wife had a kid in April.
  • Ate a bunch of ice cream in 2015 and even shared some of it with my kid.
  • Let formyard.com expire in February 2016.
  • Now: living gloriously free of side project guilt.

Letting formyard.com expire hurt. I paid for that domain for 7 years! Letting it go felt like a waste, but keeping it was worse. It wasn’t just a waste of money—it was a waste of mental energy. I felt guilty every time I looked at my list of domain names.

The guilt was stupid and pointless. Nearly every time I had to choose between formyard and something else I chose something else. Sure, sometimes I made those decisions out of laziness, but mostly it was in order to spend more time with my family and avoid burnout.

Other people might have more time and energy to devote to side projects without getting burned out. I am not one of those people.

And that’s okay.

Projects, Burnout
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