2018 in review

As this year of blog posts comes to an end, I’d like to look back at what I wrote this year.

I started off with some more well-prepared stuff. My post on advertising as signaling took me a few hours to write, but my more recent posts have taken 30-45 minutes. The length is comparable (the advertising post being rated as a 6 minute read but most of my recent posts are 4 minute reads). I wrote a few other pieces detailing some thoughts I had (including programming as a business and the student response to the OSU clock tower). All of those pieces were fun to write, and they got easier as I became more practiced. I have a few filler pieces in there as well (delivering weekly was a bit of a chore for me).

The piece I’m most proud of is probably Choose the right abstraction. I think this is this most interesting idea I wrote about - that an abstraction presented to a user is a promise to act in a certain way. It was fun to write and came directly from experiences I was having at the time. This is the kind of post I want to write more of. Another post that sticks out in my mind is Mastodon: an update, the post in which I detail why I ended up shutting down my Mastodon instance. I was probably going to do this anyways, but having the post to write that week made me crystallize the reasons why I was doing so. Writing it out helped me think clearer about it and I’m glad to have my thought process and reasons recorded here. Hopefully it’s useful to someone else.

I put comments on my site a couple of months in (not sure exactly when). I’ve gotten participation mostly from my counterpart in the year-of-blog-posts bet (it occurs to me now I may not have mentioned the details of this all year - Taylor Olmstead and I owe each other beers for each weekly post we missed in 2018). However, I did get some discussion with another friend of mine, Max Buck, and most unexpectedly from the author of a piece of software I wrote about (Kanban Mail). The comments have been pretty solid overall; Disqus has done a great job of keeping out the spam.

I’m probably going to go through and take down a few of the posts I was clearly getting done last-minute. In the new year I’m not going to be held to the once-a-week schedule anymore, and will only be writing when I have something I want to write about. I expect by removing some of the posts I would not have made, I’ll end up with a much higher quality end product that still has quite a bit of volume.

Overall, I have enjoyed writing so consistently. I think I’ve become better at the part I was most interested in improving - specifically, writing extemporaneously. I became better at having a much rougher outline in place and writing my posts from start to finish while maintaining a coherent train of thought (though you may think differently). I expect the practice I got will serve me well as long as I continue to exercise.

I’m looking forward to the next year.