The process of understanding something contains at least the following two steps:

  1. Gather new information
  2. Synthesize that information into some conclusion

For the past few months, it feels like my brain has been stuck in the first step without ever coming to some conclusion or idea. Just a bunch of amorphous thoughts floating through, and eventually out of, my head. So the hope is that forcing myself to reflect on and crystalize my thoughts into a blog post might help ideas stick a little more.

There’s also something nice about the fact that this blog exists, currently, in a spot where it’s private enough that I don’t feel too nervous about setting things down but public enough that I still feel some need to make things coherent.

Keeping a Record

3D printing, automating the digitization of a family photo library, dabbling in woodworking…these are all things that can be considered “technical” but would never be captured in the green squares of a contribution grid (yet). I often forget this and can be much too hard on myself for not getting enough done. So I hope that with this record of work done it’ll be a little easier for me to see all technical output over time (I’ll never get it 100% but at least I can try to even things out a bit).

It would also be really nice to have an organized repository of Guides and How To’s that I could reference when I find myself doing the same thing for the nth time. Future me has enough issues to worry about, why not take Configuring a Local Kafka Test Cluster off his plate by writing up a nice guide.

In addition to future me, I think the guides would also be useful to others. Now I want to preface this with something important, I love talking about programming. In the pre-COVID world it was definitely one of those “Don’t get him started” topics for me. But I am human, which in this context means two things: I only have so much time in a day to help people and I only have so much patience to help people with the same problem. I think any of us would go a little insane if their job was to show people how to set up a Python virtual environment day in & day out… day in … day out… day in… You get the point. If I could write a really great guide on how to do something I can not only save myself some time but expand the reach of my assistance. Anyone Googling a topic I’ve covered could theoretically benefit.

Improving My Technical Writing Skills

I feel like I owe a lot of my understanding in this field to good technical writers. Authors of books, blog posts, & READMEs that stuck out to me as being engaging and educational. I’ve also read a lot of technical writing that wasn’t so great. Walls of text that seemed to actively resist understanding. Some days I feel like I’m the one writing those articles; sometimes out of laziness and sometimes out of a lack of practice. So I’m here to train that skill and get comfortable with my written voice.