November 17, 2023

Why I should be writing

Setting goals and expectations for both myself and readers

March 2024 update:

I used to use this page for goal-setting, but now I’m adding some notes for myself, to remind of why I should be writing, in addition to what I should be writing, and how I should be writing.

Why write:

  • Writing helps make friends! It helps other people across the internet discover you! (I thought this was a myth until random, awesome people started emailing me. And I barely write.)

How I should be writing:

  • Some pieces are part of a “garden” of thoughts; others should be more polished. But surface ALL of the writing.
  • Everyone writes in beautiful prose. I have trouble with this. It doesn’t mean I won’t at least try to write a couple of beautiful pieces once or twice a year… but I like a messy desk. Messy writing has a place. Beautiful writing comes from spontaneous connections from seemingly disconnected items, like synapses aligning.

From November, 2023

I wish more personal blogs set purpose and expectations for readers.

I’ve often found myself stumbling across a personal blog thinking “this post is too short!” or “this writeup needs more examples!” or “this is plain wrong!” completely forgetting that this is a personal blog and I’m a guest reading someone’s personal thoughts. Plenty of times do you see someone’s personal post getting ripped to shreds on hacker news for saying something wrong or expressing personal beliefs. That’s why I think it’s important for casual writers to set proper expectations for visitors.

I think this also reminds me of why I’m putting words here in the first place.

  • Main Goal: to create a more casual Simon Willison style blog where I build and try stuff with AI, dev/data/biotech tools, and general design/ux thoughts
  • Treat all posts as works in progress — this helps you “ship” faster and write from the top of your mind; it’s better to put poorly-formed words on paper than perfectly-formed words
  • This is a log for casual, work in progress writings and thoughts. This is a place where you write to think, and thoughts don’t have to be polished for external audiences
  • Posts can be updated over time, so put words down and publish before it’s ready
  • Prefer short, concise posts and concise writing
  • Write for your future self, not for others
  • You’ll be wrong, and that’s ok
  • If you’re wrong- admit you’re wrong, write about how you got there, what right looks like, and the process for getting wrong to right. Too many people post brilliant, finished pieces and delete the crud, but I think the reading, thinking about, and logging the process is important


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