On Writing, Learning, and More

The problem with having a blog is that you have to post new content pretty consistently, or else it becomes just one of the 70 zillion sites on the internet that never gets updated and nobody reads. The question is, how do you always manage to have something to say on a (weekly or better) basis?

This becomes more difficult when it’s a professional blog rather than a personal one. I could certainly write a few posts about my amazing sabbatical in Europe (if you have any interest at all in history and/or castles and have the opportunity to see the Tower of London, DO IT!), my experience as a foster parent, and so on – but on a blog that’s focused on technical issues (specifically, programming and computer science) how many people who aren’t personal friends of mine will care?

Tower of London by Christine Matthews. Used under Creative Commons license.

On the other hand, if I can produce enough content that will be generally relevant to the main topics of the blog, then people can always skip the occasional diversion and come back for the next post. Which brings me back to the original question: how do I manage to consistently deliver content that the majority of readers will find useful? It’s not like I run across and solve an interesting problem every single day.

So I’m going to try a different approach. I’ll continue to do what I’ve been doing – when I have an opinion about a programming topic or just learn something I find interesting, I’ll write it up – but I’m also going to start chronicling things from my personal life that might be of general interest – like, again, what not to miss on a European vacation – even if they’re not strictly technology-related.

Additionally, I’m going to try to formalize my self-improvement program and use the blog to keep it moving. I’ve been in my current developer position for nearly six years now and am at the point where I’m comfortable with it, but even with my current responsibilities I still don’t feel like I’m really an expert developer. I’m always working to improve, but the hassles of day to day life mean that that books pile up unread and that Pluralsight subscription doesn’t get used nearly enough to justify the cost.

So I’m going to set a fairly straightforward goal: at the end of each workday, I’ll try to think of something that I learned or that became more clear to me that day. If I can’t think of anything, then I’ll pull out some type of educational material and go through it until I find something. That something can go on a list, and that list can be topics for blog posts to help me solidify things in my mind.

Maybe that won’t be anything groundbreaking. Maybe it’ll just be a better understanding of how to do something simple in TypeScript. But it seems that by doing this, I can’t help but become just a little bit better every day, and just like compound interest, all those small gains are going to build up over time.

Pretty soon I’m expecting a promotion to senior developer. My goal is to raise my skills to the point where I feel like I deserve it.

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