One of the largest impedements for me to write long form, has been my lack of organization skills in doing this style of writing. Most longer expository things I’ve easily written have been things I was very passionate about, or have been technical documentation, but even with these, I’m usually concise. I have been able to contribute most effectively via online chat where I can answer questions or discuss ideas interactively. Twitter’s 140 char limit where my concise style is the rule, but I feel I’m unable to really dig in and explain what I’m saying on there. There are just things that must be expounded upon.
Now I’m here to give another crack at blogging but found my brain feel like I have a backlog and things get jammed. This is going to take some organization or else I’m just going to get frustrated. Things I want to write about will take research and If I don’t go about it methodically, I will get sucked down rabbit holes and never get back to complete a whole article. Fortunately in 2015 I read quite a bit on organization and have found tools that help me organze and more productively achive goals. I said to myself, “John, apply your organizational techniques to writing and you should be able to get somewhere.” and I agreed. I also have the motivation that in the recent few years, I’ve developed a few technical talks and found they greatly advanced my understanding of the subjects, because in trying to simplify and make understandable, I had to research and fill in gaps in my understanding. The consequence is that I understood it much better and have been able to take greater advantage of it, improving my quality of life as well as others.
Over the recent years I’ve contributed with open source software, including writing documentation for it, so others can enjoy it’s benefits more easily. Something I’ve been really happy about. The Python community has been important to me because it’s filled with so many people willing to, and effectively collaborate. Lot’s of people willing to teach and be taught. The open source projects I’ve contributed to have mostly been my own creations, thought I have more and more contributed to others, sometimes because I want to help fix a tool I use for work and sometimes interesting things I’ve found. It is lovely to do that, some great stuff happens in the documentation, but only so much is appropriate. I wouldn’t want to just write about anything there. The conclusion is a blog is the right place for the writing I want to do, and so it begins.
Recent books I’ve read on organization are The Organized Mind by Daniel Levitin and Minimalist Living by J.D. Rockefeller.
There have been advances in computing hardware speed and quality that have helped me, as well as me picking up some older software technology that has been used by old timers for many decades. There is much newer productivity techniques through the software tools that I’ve been trained on, although they have struggled to be easy to use and understand. You had to have someone that knew the techniques and then guided you along them, in combination with using the software. It has been hard to apply that across many areas. Now we have people who have learned and practiced those techniques effectively who have gone on to produce software that actually guides you through the techniques and makes it easy to apply. I want to call out one in particular: Zube.IO. I have been a little more primed to use it since I have some existing training in the agile techniques, but just looking at it and using it a little bit clarifies things that were fuzzy to me, but I think it will show others as well.
It’s a fascinating story how this software has come to be, one I watched happen in realtime starting in person and then over the internet. It’s not a story I can fully tell at this moment, except for summing up what I’ve seen up in this tweet.
Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!
1 Jan 2016