I find myself these days, retracking my steps, trying to understand where I was in August, when my momentum in research and programming began to traipse off. Yes, I still have a few things on my plate. I've decided not to prep a talk for Industry Conference 2008 (though I'll plan on going). Rather, I plan to have some proofs-of-concept and some demos prepped for the conference, with the intention to show them around selectively. Just because I won't be presenting publicly, doesn't mean I have to let the opportunity pass for drumming up interest. It also affords me the chance to require non-disclosure agreements from anyone I'll be showing, which I couldn't likely do for a presentation.
I find that some of my thinking has clarified, some questions have been answered, and in general my approach has matured since I was in the heat of things last summer. However, it's that impetus that I need to regain. I cleared my whiteboard, and wrote at the top:
First things First!
--[Major unresolved issue!]
It's that one issue that I hadn't completed back in August or September, that I still hadn't clarified when I met with the programmers I had hoped to hire in October, and which I let fester in the interim. And it's that one little issue that will make all of these points come together. It's that one little point that serves as fulcrum.
And I've danced around it this past week, unable to find the foothold for my energies to concentrate on the problem enough to make strides. I've been reading up on the state of the art so to speak (in a recent text from my wishlist that my inlaws got me for my birthday), and several patents that have recently been filed in the area I am working. There are still holes in what's out there, holes which I fully expect my patches to fill. But then, who can be certain when doing something new? Was Thomas Edison certain? It's a trick question!
Of course, he was certain... but about what? I am certain that I have a contribution to make to the field in which I have endeavored. I am certain that this is far more enjoyable to me at the moment than the alternative. I am certain that I will come up with something, that I will learn from each failure, each imperfect attempt. I'm just not certain if this one will work... or another 229 light bulbs down the road.