I've been trying to write a new post for a while, but keep coming up with ways to avoid it. In this very meta post, I list down the reasons of why I want to maintain a blog.
Document things I struggled with #
If I had to go through multiple sources of information to get the hang of a concept, chances are that others learning the same thing might be going through a similar process1. By documenting what I struggled with, two things happen:
It strengthens my understanding of the topic, and I have notes that I could reference later.
Hopefully, the post could serve as a good starting point for someone else, making their process to learn this concept easier.
For a while, this was the only reason I had, and that created problems. Sometimes what I struggled with is pretty well-explained somewhere else, and I felt like my post on the topic would be repetitive.
Since I felt like this pretty often, that led to no posts for a very long time. I had to figure other reasons to keep blogging.
Making the learning process enjoyable #
Whenever I try to learn anything new, I either get overwhelmed by having to plan what to learn, or get extremely bored when there's too much information.
Taking notes has helped sometimes during learning, as I engage with the material in a more interactive way. It makes an otherwise frustrating experience slightly more entertaining.
It's a great approach in theory, but I don't do it very often as it's very mentally demanding. It's something that I resort to only when I have a deadline or an exam coming up.
I would like to revisit this approach in the form of something I actually enjoy, blogging! It will be a little harder as there's no proper structure with self-learning, and that's a discussion I'll save for another blog post.
Knowing what I've learned #
I know this sounds a little weird, but let me explain.
Since I learnt stuff last minute all throughout school/university, I forgot most of it after the academic year ended. The stuff I learnt from assignments stuck really well with me, but I forgot most of the theory.
Thanks to this, my knowledge on most topics is half-baked. I know some of the basics, and then there are the basics I either don't know or forgot. I cannot say "I know the basics of [insert topic here]" confidently for any topic.
This is a big reason why I struggle to learn, as I get stuck on learning and re-learning the basics.
With this blog, I have confirmed evidence of knowing a topic if I can write a decent post about it. Then I can finally stop getting stuck on the basics and focus on more advanced topics.
Figuring out my niche #
While I have a vague idea of topics I'm interested in, I don't find myself diving deep into any of them as my interests shift very quickly.
As I make more posts, it'll give me a sense of which of those interests I gravitate more towards and would like to learn more about.
While I would still continue to occasionally explore other unrelated topics, it's nice to have a niche that I can always go back to.
I like the concept of blogging #
I've liked blogging ever since I discovered it a little over 10 years ago. Other mediums/resources can get either too overwhelming (videos, discussions on social media) or too boring (books, academic papers, lectures).
A blog feels somewhere right in between:
Unlike social media, there's no algorithm controlling what posts you see or how many characters you can type. Also, having your OWN website just sounds way cooler.
I don't relate to the language and structure of academic papers and most books. Blog posts feel more approachable, while still explaining a concept just as well.
I zone out during lectures/videos if the pace is too slow or too fast. Blog posts let me read and understand stuff at my own pace.
Of course, blogs are not a complete replacement to any of these mediums, but it's my most preferred medium.
Strengthen writing/thinking skills #
I believe writing is thinking, as I've usually resorted to writing to make things clearer in my head. Lately, I got lazy and stopped writing stuff down, and that has been reflecting in my confused thinking process.
To get back into the practice of writing, blogging seems like a good place to start.
Interact with like-minded people #
Apart from being a faciliator to the learning process, I would like the posts on this blog to hopefully spark some online interactions with people of similar interests.
My current method for receiving comments is through the Comment via email button at the bottom of each post, a neat idea I discovered from Kev Quirk's blog.
Julia Evans shares similar thoughts in her post, Blog about what you've struggled with. It got me to start typing this post, so I'd recommend giving it a read if you've been finding it hard to either start or continue blogging. ↩