Building a WordPress Series Plugin: A Costly Mistake

By Sol in Lab

I made a mistake. I should have known better after all this time. In fact, I nearly heeded the warning when I changed direction to focus on post title formatting in lieu of further refining series management.

However, once titles had been properly formatted, I returned to the dark depths of the plugin’s internals. Lured in by the siren call of an interesting problem, I’ve spent the past few days refactoring and optimizing the plugin’s core framework and admin functionality such as custom menus, settings, etc. This will help current and future projects in the long run so the work is worthwhile (or so I told myself).

The Void

Last night, after another day of feeling less than satisfied with my progress, I realized that I was neck deep in the The Void, a momentum-sucking black hole where progress is the inverse of the amount of time and effort you spend on a task. Hours and days roll by as you chip away at the work. You’re so engrossed in the work that you don’t notice that your momentum and morale is also being chipped away, but by then it’s too late.

I should have banged on the sheet metal more before jumping into the pinstriping— created a widget and another major feature or two. The plugin would be ready for a beta release and then I could have spent some time going down the rabbit hole on the optimization train.


I’m committed to this current task now though. I’ve reworked the admin settings functionality and the tweaking will continue until it is usable. Knowing that my time could have more impact elsewhere is painful, but better to learn my lesson than to take the easy way out and jump ship now. Once this task is done though, it’s back to big features with a focus on releasing a beta of this plugin as soon as possible.


All tasks in a project are important, but the order in which you attack those tasks is at least as important, if not more so.