Do yourself a favor. Learn to code. Here’s how.


I’ve said this to my non-techie friends countless times. It’s no secret that being able to code makes you a better job applicant, and a better entrepreneur. Hell, one techie taught a homeless man to code and now that man is making his first mobile application.

Learning to code elevates your professional life, and makes you more knowledgeable about the massive changes taking place in the technology sector that are poised to have an immense influence on human life.

(note: yes I realize that 3/5 of those links were Google projects)

But most folks are intimidated by coding. And it does seem intimidating at first. But peel away the obscurity and the difficulty, and you start to learn that coding, at least at its basic level, is a very manageable, learnable skill.

There are a lot of resources out there to teach you. I’ve found a couple to be particularly successful. Here’s my list of resources for learning to code, sorted by difficulty:


Never written a line of code before? No worries. Just visit one of these fine resources and follow their high-level tutorials. You won’t get into the nitty-gritty, but don’t worry about it for now:

Dash - by General Assembly


w3 Tutorials (start at HTML on the left sidebar and work your way down)


Now that you’ve gone through a handful of basic tutorials, it’s time to learn the fundamentals of actual, real-life coding problems. I’ve found these resources to be solid:

Khan Academy

CodeAcademy - Ruby, Python, PHP


If you’re here, you’re capable of building things. You know the primitives. You know the logic control statements. You’re ready to start making real stuff take shape. Here are some different types of resources to turn you from someone who knows how to code, into a full-fledged programmer.

Programming problems

Sometimes, the challenges in programming aren’t how to make a language do a task, but just how to do the task in general. Like how to find an item in a very large, sorted list, without checking each element. Here are some resources for those types of problems



Web Applications

If you learned Python, Django is an amazing platform for creating quick-and-easy web applications. I’d highly suggest the tutorial - it’s one of the best I’ve ever used, and you have a web app up and running in less than an hour.

Django Tutorial

I’ve never used Rails, but it’s a very popular and powerful framework for creating web applications using Ruby. I’d suggest going through their guide to start getting down-and-dirty with Rails development.

Rails Guide

If you know PHP, there’s an ocean of good stuff out there for you to learn how to make a full-fledged web application. Frameworks do a lot of work for you, and provide quick and easy guides to get up and running. I’d suggest the following:

Cake PHP Book

Symfony 2 - Get Started

Yii PHP - The Comprehensive Guide


If there’s one point I wanted to get across, it’s that it is easier than ever to learn to code. There are resources on every corner of the internet for potential programmers, and the benefits of learning even just the basics are monumental.

If you know of any additional, great resources that aren’t listed here, please feel free to tweet them to me @boomeyer.

Best of luck!




a public service announcement


You will only end up with mud on your palette and tears on your face


So you’re stuck, huh? Don’t have any ideas for building more character depth? Maybe you’re just feeling inept and struggling with finding some interesting motive for your character. Fear not. I present to you a list of 30 prompts to help you overcome your fear of 2-dimensional characters.

Like and reblog if you feel like being an appreciative little jerk. ;)

  1. Write about a prized possession from your character’s childhood such as a blanket or a plush toy.

  2. An unexpected package is waiting for your character on the doorstep. There is no return address.

  3. Write about a moment your character realized they’d made a horrible mistake.

  4. "We just went for Chinese…"

  5. Your character is in the back seat of a taxi.

  6. Write about three things your character’s father told them.

  7. "…and her red hair lit the wall." (After Richard Hugo.)

  8. Your character is remembering a smell.

  9. Write about a scar.

  10. Your character sees a stranger crying.

  11. "Afterward, I thought about…"

  12. Write about your character admitting the truth.

  13. What is your character’s neighborhood like at 5 PM?

  14. Write about all that was left after he was gone.

  15. Your character is in a hotel lobby.

  16. Write about a time your character’s favorite color changed.

  17. Someone is calling your character’s name from across the super market.

  18. It was October and everything was bright orange.

  19. Your character is driving on gravel.

  20. "I would like to make an exchange."

  21. Write about a pleasant scent your character hates.

  22. "… is my favorite season."

  23. Sounds you hear at night while camping.

  24. Write about your character falling from grace.

  25. A stranger has anonymously paid for your character’s lunch in a restaurant.

  26. Write about an abandoned house.

  27. "These are my oldest pair of shoes."

  28. Write about a time your character found out something they weren’t supposed to know.

  29. Your character is being accused of something they didn’t know.

  30. Write about the hardest lesson your character ever had to learn.



NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It begins on November 1st of every year and goes until 11:59 on November 30th. During this time, participants must write a novel that is at least 50,000 words.

If you win NaNoWriMo, you get some perks that are listed on the website each year. Examples include discounts on writing software, free downloads, and some free physical copies of your self published book.

There is also a related event called Camp NaNoWriMo. This is the same as NaNoWriMo, but with a few differences:

  • Camp NaNoWriMo takes place in April and July.
  • On the Camp NaNoWriMo website, you can be in “cabins" with other writers where you can chat and encourage each other to write.
  • You can set your own word count goal for Camp NaNoWriMo.


Do I have to write a novel? Can I write an anthology of short stories?

While the original premise was to write a novel, you are free to write an anthology or short stories (or something similar) if you wish.

Does it have to be original fiction? Can I write fan fiction?

Again, the original premise was to write original fiction, but you can write fan fiction if you want.

Am I allowed to plan my story before November?

Yes! Writers are encouraged to prepare prior to NaNoWriMo.

Am I allowed to start writing my story before NaNoWriMo as long as I write an additional 50k words during November?

You’re supposed to start with a new story, but there’s no one to stop you from continuing an old story or even rewriting one.

Does my novel have to be 50,000 words, or can I go over?

You can definitely go over the word count.

Make sure to check the nanowrimo website for more FAQs.


If you’re prone to writer’s block, I highly recommend that you plan before you write:

Otherwise, prepare mentally and physically for the challenge of writing a novel in a month. Plan out when you will write each day and for how long. Remember, you need at least 1667 words per day to reach the goal by the end of the month. Find a nice spot to write, have all your notes in order, and back up all your files. Here are some more tips and resources:


One thing you need to avoid during NaNoWriMo is editing. If you edit while you’re trying to write, your writing will be slowed and you’ll fall behind. Just keep writing.



So NaNoWriMo is over (or you’ve finished your novel) and now you have a rough draft of your manuscript. Here are some tips:

  • Do not immediately send it to an agent or publisher. Tons of people start sending out their manuscripts right after NaNoWriMo and it’s a huge mistake because they’re not sending polished, ready-to-be-published manuscripts. They’re sending rough drafts they wrote quickly.
  • Leave it alone before you start editing. Walk away from your manuscript and work on something else or take a break from writing. This break could be a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months. It depends on you. Then start editing once you’re fresh again.

For more on editing and publishing, see my How to Write and Publish a Novel page.


I stumbled upon a website that allows you to blend any colors evenly no matter how opposite on the spectrum they are.

sharing the knowledge


very helpful art resource

(Source: sketchcomplex)





*brings plastic knife to a gang fight*

Brittle, cheap plastic knives are actually pretty great weapons if you file the end down to a point, you can stab someone and then torque your wrist to shatter the plastic blade inside the wound. It’s pretty effective if you do it near a joint or in the gut as those places move a lot and cause the broken shards to shift around.

oh my god


Writer? Murderer? You’ll never know.

(Source: sassadilla)


yes, I still have a tummy pooch, I’m working on it!

do each of these exercises for 30 secs!
low plank dips, low plank rocks, side planks (do both sides, 15 sec each), & plank jacks.
take a min break!!
now do the next four exercises or 30 secs!
plank runs, in & outs, knee to alt. arm, & knee to elbows.
take a min break!

repeat this 3 times!!


Mariana Coldebella by Federico De Angelis for Mojeh November/December 2012