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Category Archives: Meta

It’s not a very long one, but it’s one worth remembering: you’ve probably read enough. All too often, it’s too easy getting caught up on obsessing over documentation and tutorials and best practices and “the right way to do it.” Humans lived before the internet, before mass literacy, before cave paintings even. Not well, maybe, but they still found ways to advance without learning everything from someone else. So likewise, we could too, without getting caught up in a deluge of material that just keep telling you what to do, without you actually starting something and learning from your own experimentation, practice, trial and error, and just general experience. And if there’s something keeping you back, at least there’s a few basic steps you can take. No-brainers, really. The sort of tips that actually nudge you in the right direction, instead of similarly enslaving you to “more stuff you have to learn instead of actually doing the right thing.”

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be doing something this weekend, lest these inspirationally snappy “get off your butt and go do something” posts become the same thing they warn against- more reading material that one consumes and learns from instead of actually applying.

Designer Miles Lennon makes this observation and suggests a solution for it. I definitely see this happening quite often- I think one cause is that most blogs are not built around a central premise, and so the blogger lacks the need to update. Lifestyle logs, travelogue, or review-based blogs seem to get more traction because their writers simply post what their daily life. No need to search for profound insight to appeal to an online audience. Autobiographical blogs seem to be wither away slowly on a predictable cycle, as Lennon notes:

1) Euphoric moment of inspiration
2) Pseudo-maniacal and self-indulgent perusing of domains
3) Careful consideration of theme and design
4) The inaugural post – “Hello world!”
5) The 2-4 post honeymoon phase
6) Waning and changing interests
7) Feelings of desperation and apathy from low engagement
8) Inevitable abandonment :(

Personally, my experience has been more about not simply writing down my thoughts in time for the blog. Or having huge trains of thought that I ride down the Trans-Sibir, only to dissipate once I get down to the keyboard. Often it’s caused by an unwillingness to put in the labor required- setting up an entry, committing half-baked thoughts into actual publishable words, maintaining some coherency (ha, ha). And of course, it’s always easy to get distracted by playing with fonts or layouts or metaphors.

Lennon and Mitch Matuson have built Postary, a minimalist blog app built atop of the Twitter API, designed to maintain interest in blogs at step four above. Instead of having bloggers get too deep, they can keep posting fresh posts instead of falling into the cycle of inevitable decline. Twitter’s ultralight nature definitely helps this; it seems similar to other apps that bypass the 140 character limit, while maintaining a sense of brevity. I confess that I do not actually intend to use it- I want to stave off abandonment of this blog. But I do appreciate Postary’s existence. As the internet continues to expand and grow denser, established formats may change over time. Not everyone can maintain a million daily views blog, nor does everyone want one. Microblogging apps, tools such as 750 Words, and even the new WordPress update provide users with nicely minimalist interfaces to pour out their thoughts. Writer engagement should come first.

I haven’t touched this blog for a few weeks, having been swarmed by pending tasks and priorities. I’m at critical mass right now in terms of work. As such, this will be a short entry-

I’ve been experimenting with some different lifehacking techniques, reading on theories of motivation and anti-procrastination articles. At this point, it’s a bit too late to implement a long-term plan. So I’m going to machete my own path through this thicket! Some thoughts:

1. Even with a deadline, breathing space is necessary. I thought of this approach during a jog- cleared my thoughts right out. There’s only so many hours a day you can remain concentrated and energetic enough to handle a project.

2. Go for short term accomplishments. It’s time to do this one-man Agile style. Achieve something, check to see if I’m on the right path, iterate. Getting this done correctly keeps me in the game- mastery is one of the big three of Daniel Pink’s motivators.

3. Focus on the here and now. Don’t dwell on external constraints. Focus on the achievements instead of the failings. Keep the morale up that way and remain driven.

4. Air out the brain. Cut out distractions.

Let’s see if this works. Wish me luck.

Hey everybody! With the demise of my cobbled-together concrete5 blog and the newest update’s perplexing lack of tag attributes, I’m starting anew. I hope to use this as an opportunity to talk about interesting slices of tech life and to sharpen my rusty writing skills. Or at the very least use this as an open journal to log my modest progress on projects and learning. And for posting some cool links.