I'm now reading Paul Graham's latest article - Hackers and Painters. Here are some quotes that really spoke to me:

When we interviewed programmers, the main thing we cared about was what kind of software they wrote in their spare time. You can't do anything really well unless you love it, and if you love to hack you'll inevitably be working on projects of your own.

Ahh, so true...

Scientists start out doing work that's perfect, in the sense that they're just trying to reproduce work someone else has already done for them. Eventually, they get to the point where they can do original work. Whereas hackers, from the start, are doing original work

This is almost the wording I use to explain to people why I love what I do. Programming is the easiest way to create new things and see them work.

Many a hacker has written a program only to find on returning to it six months later that he has no idea how it works. I know several people who've sworn off Perl after such experiences.

Hmm... I see such complaints about Perl quite a lot. My answer is always the same - just that a language makes it possible to write gibberish, doesn't mean that one can't write beautiful code with it.

To conclude, "Hackers and painters" is a very good article. You can read it here.