Writing an R package has helped me leave my comfort zone and level up my R programming skills. The code I write as a researcher is mostly single-user and single-use. Writing and publishing code meant for others has helped me break old habits and acquire useful new software engineering skills. R has a streamlined ecosystem for package development that supports understanding and adhering to best practices. I will talk about the things I have learned while writing my first R package, why I think writing a package should be a rite of passage for any aspiring research software engineer, and why R is a great tool for this.