The biggest development from last week, was that after weeks of thinking about it and talking about it on this journal, I finally published my digital garden online. You can find it here.
It's a work in progress, so there will be changes. In fact, the nature of it means it will probably be forever under construction. When you go through it, don't think of it as a blog. It is not. There are no published dates. There's no RSS feed. There's no email subscription. The URLs to specific notes will probably change every week. It is really a digital garden/personal knowledge-base.
Matt shared this wonderful website on Mastodon. What an amazing find! It allows you to watch, what looks like dashcam videos, from all over the world. In an age where travel and road trips are put on-hold, this website lets you experience virtually driving in another country. It's a mesmerizing and very interesting way to see what other countries/cities look like.
Power outages and water shut-offs all across Texas. People have died in accidents on the road and at their own homes because of the cold. It's extremely disheartening. We've been extremely lucky to not have lost power or water at all. But that wasn't the case for everyone else. Last week's winter storm really showed how the state of Texas is just not ready for this kind of weather. I'm hoping that the state can learn from this and be better prepared for the next one.
TWSBI Eco-T Fountain Pen – an affordable fountain pen for beginners.
Got a TWSBI Eco-T fountain pen as a Christmas gift. I've been using it last week and I'm still not a big fan of it. But I also can't seem to stop myself from using it. There's something fascinating about a fountain pen that makes me want to write with one.
I think my Zebra Sarasa Grand Gel Pen writes better. But I need more time with the TWSBI Eco-T fountain pen before I make a final judgement.
For my Zettelkasten in Obsidian, I decided to no longer keep links between my Daily Notes and my Permanent Notes. This is based off what I read in Ahrens' book saying to discard or archive Fleeting Notes. And that's pretty much what my Daily Notes are, a collection of Fleeting Notes.
I'm removing the links, but I'm still archiving them though. And that's because I use the Daily Notes to create my Weeknotes post. It also makes those notes searchable via Obsidian.
When I would write a blog post, I would always start with a blank page and a massive backlog of ideas. The act of writing a well-formatted blog post is intimidating. That is the part I don't enjoy.
I realized I was overthinking it. The things I write about are straightforward and often very technical. They're more for me than anyone else. Writing helps me think and understand so I decided to embrace this and change the way I write.
Instead of writing long, formal blog posts for others, I now write smaller (usually) brief notes about a specific topic to build up my own personal knowledge.
This collection of notes can then be used to Learn in public, sometimes referred to as a Digital Garden.
Sad to say, but I'm at this point right now. Just the thought of writing a decent blog post somehow renders me exhausted. Not to mention, my mind has been stuck on the idea of, not everything has to be shared online. It's perfectly okay to go through life, to let things happen to you and not have to share it online.
Writing this post took a good bit of effort on my part. I had to make sure to finish it in one sitting, otherwise it would have gone unpublished for sure. Needless to say, I've all but given up on the 100DaysToOffload challenge. I got to 76 posts. That's as far as I could go.
Lately, I've been spending time writing code, instead of writing entries on here. At this point in time, I find more satisfaction in producing a working application, as opposed to a new blog post or journal entry. It's not that I don't have anything to write about — my bullet journal is filled with topics to write about. But lately, I just don't feel like I'm publishing something of value on here. I guess I also finally got tired of writing journal entries.
The most beautiful thing about a blog is that most of us don’t write blogs to become famous or make money. We write blogs simply because we are enthusiasts and nerds and hobbyists, and our little home in this vague corner of the internet is where we go to be, in a sense, fully ourselves, a safe place where we can go full nerd with a community of fellow nerds in tow.
I wholeheartedly agree!
People living halfway across the world from us, in Belgium and Iceland and the very far ends of Vladivostock, were making things they wanted to make just for the heck of it — websites and blogs were born out of hobbies, not ambitions. We were all amateurs making crude, ugly but heartfelt internet objects out of our laughable HTML skills. It was FUN because we were all amateurs together and there were no rules and no expectations and, of course, very little aesthetic sense. It was a pretty level playing ground.
Interesting enough, I feel that I am at this stage with this online journal. Except I'm not living in the past, but in the present.
I’m talking about even those moments when inspiration strikes. You have a “brilliant” thought and you sit down to write but what comes out is banality. Your sentences don’t flow and your words can hardly express what’s really in your head. It all feels like a farce.
– From The thing about writing by Rebecca Toh
Yep, that's me. That's why I can't rush my writing. When I do, it always ends up as crap. The best advice I've seen on writing was a post here on Read.Write.As, about waiting a day or two before hitting the Publish button. Allow yourself some time to sort through the jumble of words coming from your head.
But writing is also my vice. It is an obsession, all consuming, something that I can't stop thinking about even when doing other things. It is a habit I cannot shake, one that I must live with, am more than willing to do so.
Because I still want all of this to mean something.
– From Colin Walker
Isn't that what we all want in the end? For all of this to mean something? So true.
I’m done offering free ebooks as incentives to signup...
I’m done creating courses that I have to spend hours creating only to discover that no one is signing up because I don’t get enough traffic.
I’m done sharing my writing five times a day on several different social media sites...
Damn! Dan must have been really fired up when he wrote this. To clarify, he is railing against what he calls the traditional model of blogging. I don't think he is railing against blogging in general, or writing on the web for that matter.
So when I started this experiment, I wanted to see what would happen if I disable the ability for me to view this site's stats. The result, a much better online writing experience. Not being influenced by the number of readers I get, allows me to simply not worry about it. It makes it easier to just write about something I want to write about. It makes it easier to write for myself.
As a related update to the results from Experiment Log – 001, I found that the number of readers did not increase in the 2nd half of that experiment. It stayed low when my posts were not being listed in the Read.Write.As feed. As I stated in the results for that experiment though, I no longer care about that.
It's been almost one month since I started this experiment. I've decided to end it at the start of a new month, just because I didn't see any benefit to prolonging it. I started this experiment with the intention of answering the questions below. And so here are the answers.
I want to see if not publishing to the Read Write.As feed will decrease the number of people reading my posts.
So this was interesting because during the start of this experiment, I still had access to my site's stats. However, a little over a week after starting this experiment, I started Experiment Log – 003, which basically hid my site's stats.
That “something else” might be something similar to the Hawthorne's. Of course it might not be on that intimate of a level, but to have another individual read our entries and build a joint narrative alongside us – a vision of writing on the web as writing in a shared journal.
I think CJ Eller in this post touched upon something that I didn't know was at the back of my mind; part of me wants my close friends to also be writing journals or writing on their own blogs.
Back when I was in high school, it was me and a couple of friends who were always playing around with computers and consequently the internet. We had our own Archmage guild. We tried to find ways to end up in the same kingdom when playing Utopia. We spent countless nights hanging out on mIRC channels. We had customized Friendster profiles. We had our own blogs. We basically followed each other online, just like close friends do.
Dino Bansigan is concerned about writing “more for myself and less to an audience” but I find myself wondering why those must be seen as mutually exclusive. Is it not possible to write for oneself yet to an audience?
For some reason, I cannot wrap my head around the concept of writing for myself, but at the same time writing to an audience. I feel like if I can just look at it from a different angle though, I would figure it out. The closest thing I can think of, is writing for myself but writing in such a way that the content is palatable to readers. But then, wouldn't I be writing to an audience?