I feel too anxious to start!

To start a project, I mean. Anything. Even a simple web page.

A blank slate is intimidating to me. I feel like anything I could make, a kindergartner could do 3x better (and some people have been coding since their age was a single digit, so that’s not implausible; my kid self didn’t have that kind of intuition/intelligence, so kid me let that ship sail). I’ll open the editor, try to consider how to start, stare at the screen for a while, and close the editor with nothing done. And this repeats every time.

I know about “tutorial hell”. That’s one reason I want to try to make something on my own. But my nerves go haywire. I don’t know how to “just start”.

(This happens to me with everything, to be honest. I was that kid in school who preferred an F for doing nothing than an F for trying my hardest and still being a failure. Easier to say I failed because I didn’t try than I failed because I’m inadequate because the former is on purpose.)

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What are you trying to start? There are a lot of starter templates out there you could use.

It’s a common problem.

My suggestion, as unhelpful as it might sound, is to just start coding. Showing up is half the battle and just starting at least gets the ball rolling.

It can be a helpful motivator to pick a topic, technology, or really anything, that gets you a bit excited about working with. Don’t focus too much on the end result in the beginning, just take it one step at a time.

The more times you do it the easier it will get.

Wouldn’t using a template for a project of my own be cheating?

To begin with, I want to redo the FCC projects in their Responsive Web Design course. I passed the requirements, but it’s the absolute bare minimum, and I am ashamed of that.

It depends. I’m not talking about copying an entire finished page and then just modifying it. I’m talking about a template that provides the basic structure for a web page and then you fill in the rest. You mentioned that you were staring at a blank slate, so this would allow you to at least start filling in the slate with the basics that every web page needs. If you were working on the front-end projects then I would recommend that you use something like create-react-app to get you up and going.

But I didn’t know what you were working on so I just made a very general suggestion about how you might start.

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I apologize.

I’m not working on anything in particular right now, but I want to able to create my own web pages. I was referring to trying to make a web page for myself (not FCC) from scratch.

No need to apologize.

If you are trying to make a web page from scratch then I would definitely recommend you use a starter template. Our own @jwilkins.oboe even wrote an article about it.

Basic HTML5 Template: Use This HTML Boilerplate as a Starter for Any Web Dev Project

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If you are doing it to also get some practice in then I’m not sure I would suggest using a template, not unless it’s really barebones, at which point it might not be very useful.

The template posted in that article is two keypresses in VS Code ! Tab

Then add the links to the CSS and if needed the JS. Again VS Code will almost do it for you with the help of Emmet link:css Tab and script:src Tab (you do need the actual file names).

Takes about 5 seconds to set up.

Hello KayeStar,

to me, reading your comment, it sounds like, that you are putting too much pressure on your self and that’s why you have this fear of failure. And at the same time, you don’t seem to have that much confidence, which is a bad combo, which should be changed.
So here are my advices/recommendations for you:
First of all get a different type of view to the situation or in general to life: Isn’t it way more frustrating, when you failed, because you didn’t try, and then you think things like “What could have been, if I…”, than when you failed, but you can say, that you have tried your best?
Second of all, you should know that failing sometimes is a normal thing in life and that all the great persons like Elon Musk, or Cristiano Ronaldo, are only there where they are, because they always believed in their talent, and they always kept trying, even if they failed sometimes or more realistic often.
And last but not speaking on your problem, that often you don’t know where to start: Just start :slight_smile: And the rest is consistency.
I hope that I could help to change your mind and to learn to not be too rude to yourself :slight_smile:

Best regards,
Kai

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I know that feeling of being too scared to start because you’ll fail.

But one thing I’m noticing here is that you’re putting yourself down a lot in this post. You say that as a kid you lacked the intelligence/intuition to do anything like this. Would you say that to a kid offline? Would you tell someone new to coding that a kindergartener could probably do better than them? No, because it’d be discouraging and mean.

So even though it is hard not to say those things about yourself, try to be kinder. Because I don’t think kid you was lacking intelligence or intuition, it sounds to me very similar to my experience as a child—they needed additional support in education and didn’t get it. I’m sorry that happened, someone should have noticed you were struggling and helped you.

If you approach coding thinking each time ‘I am not good enough, I can’t do this because I didn’t try as a kid, I will never be good enough’ it will paralyse you.

This is what works for me.

  1. Catch the self critical thoughts like ‘I can’t code’ ‘I’m no good at this’. Acknowledge them and recognise them as thoughts. Then let them go. Like you’re catching fish, looking at them then letting them back into the pool. (I am not a psychologist or therapist, but this is based on what I learned to deal with self criticism.)

  2. Make something silly. It’s harder to get caught in being perfect when you’re making a website that sells umbrellas made of pasta. And you’ll find you code better for having less pressure.

  3. As other folks said, nothing wrong with using a template for your website. They’re very useful for setting the foundations.

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I’d like to focus on this mindset.

I’d like to point out that it’s very brave to realize this fault, and bring attention to it. It’s also a sign of high emotional intelligence to acknowledge this. It can be very easy to “continue” the same mindset and not actually admit it openly, let alone to yourself.

Depending on your background and upbringing, the concept of failure could be seen as a dangerous subject. To try and to fail could be seen as the worst of the worst. This is because failure is seen as a statement of yourself, IE “I feel I failed because I’m a failure”. Rather than failure being a a state of mind, IE “I feel I failed to accomplish something”.

The difference can be subtle, but understanding the difference usually is the key to going from tutorial hell to “getting started” and beyond. It’s also the root of many people’s attempts at not starting something.

It’s one thing to find guides, watch videos, follow along and “learn” so you’ll “feel ready”. But the moment you run into trouble, have issues, or just plain “get stuck” you’ll go back to that “I’m already failing, I can’t do this!” mindset.

This is where understanding the difference can kick in and help. The difference is if you currently are stuck, having issues, or having trouble means you see it as an opportunity to learn, rather than a shortcoming you have.

You mention a “kindergartner can do it”, so why try? Except kindergartners are immersed in a world where they are continually learning because not only do they have nothing to lose in regards to being seen “as a failure”, but they also don’t understand the shortcomings they have, nor do they care about “failing” to understand something.

If you ever interacted with a young kid who doesn’t stop asking questions, you’ll might realize they are in that “continual learning” phase, and want to suck up anything, try anything, and will attempt anything regardless of how things turn up. They also don’t care about what other people think about them not knowing something. The concept of failure to them is different than how an adult might see it. That concept of failure is learned.

It’s that concept you’d want to focus on changing. The concept that to try and to fail is a “personal flaw”. Instead you want to think of failure as an opportunity. Yes something not working, or something you aren’t sure about can suck, but it also means you have identified an opportunity to grow, to try, to fall again and get back up and try again.


Web Development is hard. Doing it daily is work. Things are ever changing, things break constantly, things are complicated and confusing. You will fail in some form one way or another. If you’re scared of it you wont start, and won’t grow. It’s that mindset that will hold you back.

But you aren’t hopeless, you actually identified it and pointed it out for the world to see. That’s the hardest part, the next part is to try to accept “failure”. You start to try to seek it because you see it as an opportunity to learn. You open up that blank page and start throwing in code off the top of your head and see it come out wonky or completely explode, you accept it and start debugging. You try and fail, but get back up and keep going, the same way a kindergartner keeps asking “why” to keep learning and absorbing the material.

It’s a vulnerable position to be in, a position where you know you don’t know but ask for help anyways because you need to move on. It’s also the position everyone is in, from the amateur just starting out to the decades old professional. No one knows everything, but you want to be in a place to learn anything, as that’s how you get started, and also how you continue. Its a process, a mindset and a journey. Hopefully one that you can find enjoyment of over time.

Good luck, keep learning keep building, keep asking! :+1: :smiley:

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It seems that you’re trying to create something from nothing without ever trying to build your thing from something.
What I meant is that before your start building something on your own, you need to know about the structure and that comes from building things. Cause doing that will give you an idea of how a page should look like and what elements/components to use and when to use them.
And if you still don’t get it, choose a simple static webpage and try to create it on your own, as identical as possible.
By the end of it, you’ll have learned so much that the current clean slate of yours won’t be a clean slate anymore.
Always know that every developer was once in your shoes. So, you’re not alone and it is just a part of the journey.
And if they could overcome it then you can as well.
Just trying believing in yourself for just once and you’ll be amazed at the outcome.

I think it’s normal. I mean, that happened and happens to me as well.

I just dive in and do it. Starting small… In my case, I get pen and paper, and more or less scribble what I would like to do, and then, try to do something similar in code. This is how I did my portfolio and my own first pet project as well.

But, I still have this thoughts.

See, on April I started to apply to jobs, and during the process (applying, completing assignments, first stage interview, second stage, final stage) I still think things as:

  • I’m not smart enough to do this.
  • Any person in my position (self taught developer without working experience) is going to be better than me.
  • They are not going to pass my assignment because other people will do it better than me.
  • I’ve must failed X stage of the interview, I didn’t do that good and other people are better than me for sure.

The reality is, when I applied for a job, I had seen that that the number of people that apply for the same position are between 80-200. And and I am able to reach to the final stage (8 to 12 people, from what I’ve seen at the moment).

When I didn’t pass the final stage, the feedback from the companies were basically: “you did well, but another candidate had more experience”, “YOU did well, but another candidate used XYZ”.

What I am trying to say is: there is a difference between the negative things we think and the facts. And they don’t have to align.

Oh, and I’m still having those thoughts. Like right now, at this moment.
Yesterday I did a final stage interview and I’m presuming that every single candidate did much better than me, that I am the dumbest.

So, what I would say to you is: just start. Once you start you will be building, bit by bit. Don’t be afraid. What is the worst outcome?

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I think I know that feeling pretty well… at least in terms of coding. The first time after I did the theoretical part of HTML & CSS and went through all these chapters i was extremely motivated because I was amazed at how easy it all was for me and if it goes on like this I can definitely apply for a job in the IT field after 3-4 months. When I wanted to start my first project - I think it was a landing page which I imagined as a “very simple” project - I got there pretty quickly. I’m sitting in front of a code editor and don’t know what to do next. Soon I realized for the first time that it wasn’t going to be that easy. My advice: It helps to take a few notes offline and think about individual details before even sit down with your laptop. With an approximate idea of ​​what the result should look like and which individual steps are necessary to get there, it is way more easier than start coding without any plan. At least that was my experience…

I know how you feel. I am 54 years old and learning coding, and I have the same patterns as you do! I’m making progress with html, css, and javascript through freeCodeCamp curriculum but I find myself starting and stopping, and I don’t feel I’m making much progress. I fight self-sabotage on a daily basis. It’s so frustrating!

I started off on fire! I knew my special passion was to free myself from the shackles of a 9 to 5 job. I wanted to be free to make my own hours, call my own shots, pick my own freelance work, go wherever I wanted to go. my special purpose was to go through freeCodeCamp training. It’s a structured curriculum, and that is what I need.

You know what would be nice are mentors who has tread this ground before me, and would be willing to spend 10 minutes checking on my progress, and encouraging me to to kick my own ass!

Hey. you just found one of the correct sites here. You do not need to start a real project or use existing templates without knowing what is already written. This Camp allows everybody, including me to start at Zero, and you can go step by step to learn what it needs to make the Code do this or that. You do not need to use the Browser Editor to learn about the stuff that is going on. For example : You can go to the curriculum and start a responsive web course. it is free. The Editor is included in the training course and it starts moderate with easy lines to write, with hints that could be used. For me it has been an advantage not to listen to videos, i have been just reading and from time to time i have written down the learned tags and fucntion sand methods on paper with a pencil. That had given me the opportunity to find that stuff when i forgot something.
Websites may change; Your “personal notes” do Not. Although i do not start a real project this curriculum teached me me how Code works and what is needed to do so.
i also had a look at W3 schools and learned their stuff parallel to this . But i always came back here to look what i could do, to train my brain. By now the courses have been updated and some newer things came up also. When i open a editor at a browserwebpage i still do the same as you: i look at it a while without doing something and then i close it again. But now i know what is written down there and and what that stuff means. Heads up. It is not a miracle. You do not need to respect all Browsers and every devicedisplay when getting started. So we can focus on the logic that is meant,