Question : Unable to Write Code Myself

I can’t seem to write code by myself, I can understand it given enough time, but when I want to create something I go blank. Anyone else deal with this?
How do I stop this? I know how basic javascript and DOM manipulation works, I can follow along with the tutorials well, But when I go to do a practice problem or even recreate what I have watched I go blank.

I got HTML and CSS down, basics of javascript are ok the dom is confusing, but I’m ehh at it. What do you guys think I should do? I have been at this for weeks and it is so frustrating because I want to move on to react and other stuff.

weeks? that’s it? youll need at least 6 months to a year and hundreds of hours of head banging frustration before you feel like you get it. Pick a basic, useless, project and FINISH it. each project should take 100+ hours, do 3.

my first major project: a console-based pacman in c++ that only used concepts from the first half of my first programming book (loops, if statements, and multi-dimensional arrays). It was a terrible program, took me 3 months, but it worked and I learned those concepts very well
embrace and speed up your failure to learn more quickly.

Yup. I’ve been coding for two years and have roughly nine months of professional experience and am only just now beginning to feel confident beginning small projects. Before this, it was constant anxiety.

A channel on Youtube called TechLead spelled out why coding is so hard very well in my opinion; it combines several distinct and difficult skills: abstract reasoning, communication (reading or speaking about code), and algorithmic analysis. Granted, most of us starting off don’t touch algorithms often, but add in the fact that you’re diving into an ever-expanding and esoteric pool of unfamiliar knowledge and it can be very overwhelming.

I’d do littler than 100+ hour projects. Little wins to balance the frustration. Most of my little practice projects took about 20 hours. Little games, a set of themes in CSS to restyle one page, etc. Mock-sites good enough for my portfolio were actually a little shorter because I’d gotten better and they weren’t as heavy on JavaScript. Medium-sized React project, probably 40 hours mostly due to stupid plateau and high-stress week. The big React project, though…yeah. 100 hours sounds about right.

My personal rule is: learn two things, make a little thing that uses them before moving on. Try to include something you learned awhile ago.

Practice makes perfect. The best way I learned was by making many, many, many websites. Now it all just comes naturally. Try to do less “follow along” and use w3schools, etc.

I want to move on to react and other stuff.

That isn’t how this works. Using react effectively requires that you have a very good understanding of JS and the DOM.

My advice is to pick a project. Any project. To-do list, calculator, extremely simple game, whatever and work on it for a month at least. Finish and polish it the best you can. Then do it again.

Becoming a good programmer requires a TON of time (I have been at it for 25 years and still learn new things every day). You need to practice, and then practice, and then practice some more.

They say hobbyist practice until they get it right, but pros practice until they don’t get it wrong.

Don’t just watch tutorials, code along as you see them typing, pausing if needed. If you can’t recreate what you just watched then go back and look at it again. Repetition is key and you will only really retain information if you do it over and over. Don’t worry about memorizing anything, as long as you can look at it and be like “Oh right, that’s how you do it” then you’re fine.

I’ll try to dig up the supporting science later, but this is generally accepted as a learning theory characteristic. Blank state is often recognized as an “exposure of knowledge gap.” It’s totally normal and is a common experience. What you do is, keep practicing. You’re fine.

I’m in the same boat as you. Been trying to teach myself with any free time I get. I follow tutorials, take the short quizzes, rinse and repeat. Then come project time, and I draw a big zero for where to start. It gets easier though. There is a small JS project I’ve been stuck on for a month, and after wiping my code clean multiple times, I hit a stride and made progress. Don’t give up. Ask more experienced programmers questions even if you think it’s dumb. Sometimes they even end up learning from it too.

Honestly just wait. Build some things with what you know now. If you’re starting to feel burned out, step away for a day or two and then come back to it. You’re going to hit this same wall many times in the future. It’s okay to take some time and let things digest. The world of web development moves fast but you can’t get too caught up in it. Focus on how you feel and learn how to deal with the various plateaus, peaks, and valleys that come with learning different technologies. It seems counter-intuitive but the most sustainable approach is to not worry too much about what you do or don’t know and to stay motivated by your projects.

You’re still brand new. Maybe try picking a less ambitious project, something simple that you know where to start. Then finish it. Then start adding features and improve on things one at a time.

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