Week 2: Going to Siberia, Why Weeknotes, and Being a Jerk
I’m writing this from Delhi, where I’m visiting my family for a few days before I leave for Russia to attend DevFest Siberia 2018 as a speaker. My talk is about using Rust and WebAssembly to draw fractals in the browser. I’m really excited, not just because Rust is amazing and WebAssembly is amazing and being able to use both of them together is amazing, but also because this will be my first talk outside of India!
My throat, however, has still not fully recovered. I’m scared that I won’t be able to speak for 45 straight minutes without hurting myself badly or lapsing into a coughing fit. I’m going to a new doctor tomorrow and hoping for a miracle. Fingers crossed.
After I published last week’s post, a friend asked me why I wanted to publish these weeknotes on the Internet for everyone to see. Taking time to introspect is helpful, putting your thoughts down in writing is also helpful, sharing them with close friends and family is perhaps also helpful, but why put them up for strangers to see?
That question doesn’t have a single answer.
First, I enjoy the conversations that happen as a result of me publishing something on my blog. It’s powerful, to connect with another human being simply by the virtue of typing up whatever I’ve been thinking about lately. I don’t have a vast army of fans hungering to read my next piece, but the five or six people who click through to my posts from Twitter usually end up talking to me, which is reason enough for me to continue writing.
So far, almost everything I’ve published online has been technical. I suppose these weeknotes are also an attempt on my part to break away from that kind of writing, to flex writing muscles I haven’t flexed since high school.
Third, it’s fun to have this little space online where I can just type and not have to worry too much about tailoring my words to a specific audience. I enjoyed the old-school blogging culture of a decade ago, which was what passed as social media back then. People wrote meandering posts about what they were cooking, their favorite coffee places, or how their dog walked all over their favorite rug with muddy paws that day. That kind of stuff now happens on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Social media is fun, but it doesn’t quite afford me the space to think out loud in the way I’m doing right now.
Fourth, my weeknotes give me a chance to practice saying “I don’t know”, or “I’m struggling with this”, or “I don’t feel so great” until I have an easier time saying these things.
Fifth, maybe someday some of this will help somebody else?
Sixth, it gives me a feeling of accomplishment, of having made something. I know it’s nothing that has much value, but hey. It gives me a certain satisfaction.
I can probably go on about this, but I’m going to stop now. It’s been a long day and I’m about to fall asleep at the keyboard.
I’ve recently made a lot of progress on some of my creative projects because I’ve started dedicating an hour and a half every morning exclusively to them. During this time, I disconnect completely from all means of communication and focus solely on my work. I sometimes feel like a jerk when I turn my phone back on and find frantic messages from people who have been trying to get in touch with me, but nothing world-ending has happened yet. I’ll continue being a jerk for the foreseeable future.
I’ve started doing a similar thing, to a lesser extent, for the work-related writing I’ve been doing at Uncommon. It seems to be working, because I’ve already finished writing one blog post that I’m going to publish next week! I’m probably going to start leaving the office to do this, and sit at a nearby cafe with a coffee in order to get some thinking space.
In the next few days I’m coming up with a concrete plan for my client outreach efforts at Uncommon, and I’ll have more to say about it in my notes next week. I also have a few thoughts about the different ways I’ve failed at doing my job properly this year, but that’s another thing I need to sit on before I can write about it.
Until next time, Ankur.