It’s Saturday, and I’m at work. I worked last Saturday as well, and will be working tomorrow too. I do this 100% voluntarily, because believe it or not, I enjoy my job. I don’t have to be here, I don’t have to come to the office every day or even most days, but I do nonetheless. Because I like it, it brings me joy, I have fun, I learn, my team is awesome, and I get free granola and coffee :)

However, I’m old enough to realize that this sort of pace is not sustainable long-term. People get burnt out at the most fantastic dream jobs; their families suffer, friendships fall apart, even while their careers soar and they enjoy every moment of their work life. We all need breaks, even from the most fulfilling activities.

So… Breaks, huh? Something to take your mind off work, daily tasks, goals, OKRs, KPIs, or what have you. People do all sorts of different things: they hike, they travel, read books at their favorite coffee shops, hang out with friends, watch TV, eat out, draw, make podcasts, brew beer, learn pottery or how to fly an airplane. The list is endless, and most people find something enjoyable to do besides work.

I’d most definitely go on an overnight solo hike this summer. I will absolutely fly a helicopter this summer at least once. It’s very likely that I’m going to visit friends in Portland in late July or August. I have a list of books I want to read, and I most certainly will.

As fun as they are, these activities are not of the “all-consuming” kind. They are a bunch of events, not a continuous process. Even though you could fill your life with these activities, they are fleeting. That’s why I’m embarking on this project I want to talk about.

You may or may not have heard about 750words.com. It’s a service that allows you to type 750 words a day. Any words, just let your thoughts flow. I loved it in the past, and still thinks it’s therapeutic value cannot be overestimated. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been updating recently, and I thought what if I make my own service of this kind? Hear me out.

I want to build a service where I can vent, rant or just let my thoughts flow freely. I want this service to help me understand where I am, how I actually feel, and be an outlet for my emotions. I also want this service to be an educational project, that would occupy me outside my work and provide new skills, entertainment and something exciting to do.

The app I will be building will be focused around mental health, healthy coping mechanisms, gratitude, and self care. To make it more fun, it will have all sorts of stats, graphs and charts, sentiment analysis, badges and more. I’m still defining requirements, so it’s all fluid.

In a nutshell, I’ll be building a note-taking web application (React or Svelte) powered by serverless functions and a cloud database and GraphQL. Notes will be encrypted at rest, and there will be a machine learning component for sentiment analysis. I’ve got a bunch of extra point ideas (AI generated background music for file you type your notes, live stats, voice notes made with a mobile app automatically transcribed, and so on).

I know very little about technologies this project involves. I mean, I’ve done at least a “hello world” in all of them, but I don’t know enough to just sit down and build this all. So my objectives for this project are in no particular order:

  • Learn the tech
  • Get my mind off work for an interesting project
  • Build an app from zero to hero
  • Get a service I’d like to use
  • Hopefully, involve other people and grow together with them

At this time, I’ve only set up a repository and filling its project section. So it’s very early, and if you’re looking for something fun to learn in 2020, chime in and let’s do it together. There’s absolutely no pressure behind this project, no monetization concerns, no marketing or building a user base. Just learning, building, exploring, and a helpful service at the end.

PineType/pinetype
A free-form note taking app with mental health focus 🧘🏼‍♀️ - PineType/pinetype

Hit me up on Github if you think it’s something you’d like to be a part of. All skills are welcome (from design to devops), all levels are welcome (from total newbies to enlightened seniors). I guarantee 100% inclusive, safe and friendly learning and building environment. Join me!