No one tells you that when writing a blog every day for 60 days, your biggest struggle and enemy will be yourself. It seems trivial, a blog post every day about something technical, or something non-technical. No minimum word count, no required subject matter, just one blog post a day with a one-word title and a pretty stock photo. And it seems so easy to say, you don’t think of it as a challenge. You will just do it.
And then it’s 1:30 in the morning, you just finished your homework, and more than anything in the world you don’t want to write a blog post. There is a rhythm to writing, a mode you enter when looking at a screen where your inner thoughts are appearing one character after another. It feels so right when it falls into place sometimes and the words pour out faster than you can think. But that night it’s not like that at all. It’s not that you’re lacking ideas, you are actively shooting down ideas in your head because you just don’t want to write anything; don’t want to look at a screen for another second.
It’s not easy those nights, but I’ve somehow written something. I’ve thought of giving up a few times, falling out of the pattern without anyone noticing, or maybe changing the requirement from 60 to 30 days. But it’s here now, and I don’t need people to tell me to give up or to keep going. It’s my challenge now, and every night I sit down to battle with the blinking cursor against the blank page. Because I am foolish and stubborn and will do it even if I’m the only one who reads it. “Practice makes permanent”, my orchestra director told me when I stared at sheet music that told me to quit. “Habits take 60 consecutive days to form” my father told me, and in a bar in Boston, a developer from Oregon told me, “There’s no such thing as failing. There’s only success and giving up.”
I’m not sure what will happen after December 30th, when the last post is written. It will be the end of 2014, and I will have written for 1/6th of the year. I doubt any of these posts will amount to much in the community. There may be 1 or 2 people who read all the way through it and reach out to me. But someday it might count, I might be asked to write something about programming, create a presentation about code, or even contribute to a book. And by that time I will be able to overcome that fear of the blank cursor, because I will know that I beat it for 60 nights in 2014.
But for today, let me just tell my status:
Thoughts, no particular order
- I watched a short video about people who climb glaciers for fun.
- I listened to an award winning podcast that talked about the amazing story of Nick Drake. I cannot wait to sit down and listen to the story again with someone, when there is nothing to do on a cold winter day but listen to good storytelling. Nick Drake was also the inspiration for The Dream Academy’s song Life in a Northern Town, which I’ve had in my head for a while
- I learned information theory as applied to statistical inference, and how, by looking at a graph of data, you can know how informative any single data point can be. Bayesian statistics will probably be the death of me.
- Listened to an interview with Jason Santa Maria about Web Typography, and found his really cool project Typedia that talks about the classification and history of different fonts.
- Browsed through all of the papers in Papers We Love, and still couldn’t decide what to read. Thought about maybe starting a papers we love club at ASU for people to share one academic paper a week with the rest of the club, but then realized I don’t have time to organize that.
- Took a test on graph traversal algorithms and had Carol of the Birds from a Christmas concert three years ago pop into my head during the middle of it.
- Came home to an empty apartment, since all of the roommates have left for home for Thanksgiving. Hopefully they come back by Saturday, it’s bizarre how quiet the place is without them.
That’s just a list of everything that I did today, and that’s all I think I will write tonight. If you’re looking for something inspirational, check out this article on not being too old to learn new things.