On the whole, I enjoy writing as an honest to goodness hobby. Once I start writing my brain goes into the zone and I'm madly typing a thousand words or so in a very short time, and usually its fairly coherent. Lately I've been taking notes on potential future personal projects, but I've been seriously struggling to find the motivation to start just the initial investigations required for these projects. And dont even get me started on my technical blogging :\
So, with that in mind I've decided to start accelerating things a little bit but using an alternate approach to 'CODECODECODE'. Firstly, as a mixture of hobby and personal development I've started a gaming blog. I am a HUGE gamer... my passion for gaming quite often overrides my common sense so its definitely a subject I know a lot about, and have a lot to say. The point of this is to try and get into the habit of writing. I'm a firm believer in that writing is a really useful skill as a developer, as we are required to be coherent in a number of different aspects (writing specs, talking to clients etc) and a blog is a good way to hone those communication skills a lot of developers seem to lack. So while its not really technical as such, at the very least its giving me practice in making my thoughts about various subjects clear and focused.
The second of my two-prong attack is these personal projects I'm talking about. I'm going to start setting REALLY small goals for these, as I tend to get overwhelmed by the scope of my ideas, killing it before it begins. For instance... by the end of this week I plan to have a new dev VM set up, with Windows Server 2012, VS2012, SQL2012 and BizTalk Server 2013. If I can have that accomplished, I will be a very happy camper. And next week perhaps some initial investigation into the simpler projects I've thought of. Next week is a long way away, so I'll leave that up in the air for now (you're on the edge of your seat right now, aren't you? ;) ).
Feel free to share your experiences in tackling your own personal development below, I'd be happy to hear someone else's approach to this.