Viktor Bijlenga

Maximize Your Creative Energy +

I’m not perfect at balancing work/life, and I will probably never be. To be able to improve, I have to think about the long term effects and create methods which works for me. It’s a hard work, but it’s worth it. You should do it too.

John Gruber at XOXO Festival +

John Gruber of Daring Fireball talks about the early years of his blog. I wish that I would have been at XOXO Festival to enjoy it, but watching it while doing the dishes was also a good experience (maybe next time?).

John shared those three valuable lessons, which made me think.

  • Know when to be stubborn.
  • Know when to be flexible.
  • Prioritize quality over money.

Why should I write in English?

This is a post for me, and it might be a good thing for you, too. It’s gonna be my place to go, when I get that feeling – why am I doing this writing thingy – in which I write in a foreign language. A post to remind me of why I should write in English. You can call it a manifest, or a just what it is – a good reminder of a few things.

It’s good practice to practice

English is not a native language for me. It’s harder than Swedish. It’s harder to find certain words or write those jokes. It will probably always be like that. But it will get easier, If I practice. It’s okay to struggle. Remember the beginning. You’ve come far.

More friends, more feedback

The world is getting more global every minute. Just look at your website analytics. People from all over the world has visited this site.

Keep on writing

Oh, you think it sucks today. Ok. Great. Just do something else for awhile. Take a step back. Just don’t quit. It’s not the language, it’s just one of these days. It’s maybe time for a shower to clear your mind.

Share your thoughts with other people

Contribute to the community (read: nice people of the internet). Give back. Someone might learn something, something might happen. It’s fun to be apart of something bigger, that’s not limited by knowing Swedish.

Interview with Jonathan Ive +

I can’t stop listening to this man. His voice is so beautiful, and I think that you can hear just by listening to him, that he is a one of our times greatest designers. Just watch it.

Video: Zack Arias on Honesty +

Yesterday I watched this talk by Zack Arias. It’s probably a must see for every creative person who felt that feeling – “I’m not good enough” or “why does everything bad happen to me”. Honesty is a good approach to many of those questions we have in our mind. I also believe that patience is important key to self confidence as a creative worker. Don’t compare yourself to much against other. Make things you believe is good work.

Thoughts on Media Queries for Elements +

Interesting post by Jonathan T. Neal on the subject Media Queries for Elements.

I think this would open up some new interesting possibilities for making better responsive layouts, but I guess the discussion/other solutions around this topic will be interesting for me to read about.

New Year’s Resolutions as a front end developer – with follow up from last year

Last year I actually wrote a few New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, I had not started writing the blog in English then, so for you who (yet) don’t read Swedish, here are those resolutions:

  • Write during 2013 – I would simply write in my blog during 2013.
  • Scratch your own itch – Develop your own stuff, imagine solutions to your own problems.
  • Explain the difference – Learn other people more about how the web works.
  • Improve your process – Improve how I work on a daily basis.
  • Explore languages – learn more about PHP and Javascript.

So how did I do? What’s this year’s New Year’s resolutions?


I’m very happy with what I’ve accomplished in 2013 on the blog. The game changer has been to begin writing in English, which is still a major difference for me. It’s still exciting to look around at the statistics and see that people from different parts of the world has been visiting the site.

As usual Shawn Blanc has some good advice which I would like to remind myself of:

An article doesn’t always have to be published the moment after you’ve written the last paragraph.

Scratch your own itch

In 2013, I worked with a faster pace than ever before, especially during the fall. Thus, many of my own projects has suffered in some way. I have to set more realistic limits, or ship earlier.

Explain the difference

I not really know how to evaluate this. Actually, I should ask my girlfriend, because I’ve probably talked to much about work. For a while she taught me a thing about dancing every day, and I her one code-thingy. It was fun.

I like to teach, and in some sense I see my writing as a way for others to learn from my thoughts.

Improve your process

I moved all my development to git. I can’t even explain my process before git. Everything is suddenly much easier and smoother. It’s like 1Password, I can’t imagine my workdays without it.

I bought a standing desk. Got tired of sitting down all day. I feel better, and I have more energy when I’m not at work.

Explore languages

Learned a lot more about PHP and Javascript/jQuery during this year. The best way to tackle this for me, is to find real situations/problems where I can learn more by simply trying.

Thank God for SASS, saved me so much time, and made CSS even more fun.

What about 2014?

My new goal is to continue to work with those things I enjoy doing, because at the end of the day it’s the only thing that matters.

Do more of the things that makes you happy, Viktor.

The Great Discontent: Merlin Mann +

I keep posting links those fine interviews from The Great Discontent. This might be the best one so far. Take some time, and read it. I enjoyed every word.

How I feel about making the switch to write in English

A few weeks back I had a short, but still very interesting discussion with my colleague Li. We talked about Twitter, and the impact that it had on our network of people which we talk to, do business with, get inspired by and so on.

As usual (when talking to someone about Twitter) I told her about that I always thought of switching to English instead if Swedish. After a few minutes I was convinced that I finally should make the switch.

I’ve previous made the switch of language and every time I’ve felt silly. This time I convinced myself that I need to give it time. I need to be patient and slowly build new relations with people around the world.

I also decided that I had to switch my blog/site to English too, since this is the main place for sharing/thinking about stuff I care about. I want to contribute to the conversation, with my own words and thoughts.

It’s hard. I still feel silly and like a newbie. But I feel that is gonna be worth the struggle. My writing in English will get better, I hopefully will learn to know more great people and it will probably change things in more ways I can think of.

A few weeks back Federico Viticci posted I tweet that I constantly have in the back of my mind these days:

I need to remember that learning new things takes time, it’s a process. I write and share because that I’m interested in learning more. It will get easier, and I’ll probably feel less silly over time. I have to commit. I have to show up, practice and feel frustrated, solve problems, look up things. Just like when I write code or design something. Just like life.

I checked the stats for the blog for the first time since making the switch yesterday. That got me inspired to write this post. Suddenly there is activity from all over the world, not just Sweden. Someone on the other side of the world visited this blog. That’s magic.

Hello World, I’m Viktor. Say hi to me on @viktorbijlenga.

Great interview with Helena Price +

Helena Price:

It’s very easy to get tied up in what other people are doing and compare yourself to others. We’re in an age where everyone is on the Internet and everything has metrics attached to it. My advice would be to stay very focused on making good personal work with your own unique perspective.

I recommend that you read the whole piece. As usual on The Great Discontent, it’s a great interview filled with thoughtful things to think about, especially if you work in the design/web/photo industry.

Mobile Only +

First, I should always have a Mobile Only persona in my mind when creating a site. That use case may be small now (in America), but it won’t be for long. In India, for example mobile usage has already overtaken desktop use.

Excellent point. I use my phone/tablet to surf the web, not the computer.

“Creative” is An Insult +

Mårten Björk:

I’ve read countless books on programming, web standards, typography, color theory, grid layout, digital strategy, advertising… I’ve spent years trying to improve my work, iterating over and over. For every solution we show a client, we tested hundreds of possible combinations in our heads before reaching our conclusion.

We acquire skills and then we use them to solve problems.

Take one minute and read this.