Dopamine to Create

Looking at the Nivenly Discord, I saw was having some HTTP 504 issues indicating some backend service was malfunctioning. This lead to a link of a post-mortem last time this happened.

  • 19:06 @dma updated acknowledging the root cause


This small snippet from the timeline sparked an urge. It was an urge to do web development for a running service, not just a static site or two—of which this very blog is one.

I’ve felt this urge before: create something new, get that dopamine hit, and ride high on that feeling of having accomplished something productive; even if that thing is MySpace for dogs and literally receives zero traffic, even from bots.

Why would it satisfy that need to create something? Would it actually provide some level of utility, or is it polishing the tile in a bathroom that’s about to be renovated?

It makes me wonder how much of my need to do “cool tech things” is based almost entirely on getting that next hit of dopamine, imagining I’m creating something or pushing society forward with the progress I make. Is it sweeter if I can observe as it happens and bask in the potential utility? For some hypothetical person? Or is the delayed gratification of seeing a fully working, but far more complex mechanism after a large binge of effort? Also for some hypothetical person?

The urge to create passed and I realized I should channel my inspiration into journaling. At least then I’ll have something useful to show for it, years down the road.