Today marks the halfway point in my little experiment to 30 days of blogging and I thought I would share a bit about my experiences. Making an external commitment to do something has definitely spurred my motivation and it’s been a positive influence on me. It’s been a great feeling that every day, no matter what, I managed to accomplish *something* with my day and it’s also spurred me to be more disciplined and be more aware of the shape of the day. It also means I’ve been much more aware of ideas, constantly on the lookout for new things to blog about. Paradoxically, on some days, it’s meant that I’ve been blogging less as I might have 2 or 3 ideas I deem worthy of blogging about but I want to save the extra ideas in case of a rainy day.
That being said, blogging continuously in this sort of fashion sucks too. Given that I have to fit blogging around the rest of my schedule, I always end up cramming it into this corner or that. All of these blog posts have pretty much been a straight shot, stream of conciousness from start to end and the quality, IMO reflects that. If you study great writers, what sounds like a breezy, casual reflection is actually the result of massive amounts of rewriting, organization and editing to get it into it’s final form. Amateur writers who make the mistake of trying to emulate the greats try and emulate the result rather than the process and, as a result, end up coming up with something clunky.
While the one blog post a day experiment has given me plenty of practise in dumping my raw thoughts on paper, the pace simply hasn’t allowed me to do that reshaping work to produce a piece of work that I am proud of. I know plenty of my blog posts suck (at least in my eyes) and I’m looking forward to having a more measured pace and drawing out a story rather than merely a concept.
Thinking more on how so much of skill is hidden under the surface got me to thinking about skills you didn’t know you needed and how so much of what makes someone skilled is completely underestimated by the outside observer. One of the skills I believe that I excel in is coming up with ideas, concepts and new ways of thinking about the world. Thinking up ideas seems like one of those mysterious things which some people are just naturally good at and people very rarely try and systematically become better at it. It’s often hard to see just how much work is required to become a good thinker.
One of the things which is never seen from the outside is the private vocabulary that I use to scaffold and structure ideas in my head. Words are shortcuts for concepts and the richer your vocabulary is, the more efficiently you can represent and develop a concept. So, as an experiment, I will dedicate this next 15 days to explaining one piece of personal vocabulary a day to give insight into the mental scaffolding that I use.
One of the reasons I started the Figuring Shit Out blog was precisely so I could talk more about this sort of stuff but I stumbled upon a major problem: describing an internal vocabulary is hard. The internal vocabulary is not made up of just english words, it’s got associations, images and visualizations. It’s linked to a bunch of other concepts and whats more, it’s constantly morphing as well. Whenever I tried to pin a concept down on paper, I found that the concept itself was being reconceptualised faster than I could write about it.
Given this, I think this will be a good forcing tool in making me grapple seriously with how I explain things to others but at the same time, I know that I’m going to be immensely disappointed with these next 15 posts. So here’s the deal: all of these next 15 posts will become password protected and hidden once the experiment is over. If you want to read them, you need to be reading them now because you won’t be seeing them again until I’m ready to talk about them again. If you have an RSS reader, now is the time to subscribe to the feed if you don’t want to miss out on anything.
As a rough dump, here are some of the terms I will be talking about:
- The ego dilemma
- Acting sober
- Advanced wisdom
- The easy problem
- Life is drama
- The unavoidably essential nature of reality
- Zero knowledge proofs
- The unbearable weirdness of meta
- The best of all possible universes
- Sheepdogs and Wolves
- Obviously wrong truths
- Everything you think is either unoriginal, wrong or both
- the no evil geniuses paradox
More as I remember them…