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Why This Blog Exists

Back in 2020, when I was trying to make the best of my career in tech, I built myself a website using a technology called GatsbyJS. It wasn’t particularly well designed, but I did it from scratch, and I was proud of how it turned out. You can still look at the code for it here. 1

I had plans to use that website as a showcase for myself. I shared my résumé there. I wanted to show potential employers that I was driven and capable of learning. I also wanted to share updates on my many projects, and I had dreams of building myself an audience. I was writing a book, working my day job, and trying to make a video game at the same time.

In 2021, I probably spent more time working on that website than I did on my projects.

Somewhere along the way, I decided I would put the video game on indefinite hold to focus on writing the book.

In 2022, I still hadn’t finished writing it. I thought to myself that I could put out a review of the books I’d read that year, and that would make it okay. I would still be putting something out there for people to read. Never mind that I didn’t have much to say about many of those books. The important thing was to get something out, right? (wrong)

At the end of the day, the book wasn’t ready, and that weighed on me. I started to worry my projects would stall. I wanted to be making things, not planning to make them.

In 2023, I decided to make some adjustments. I came across and its mission resonated with me.

At some point, my old website had over 300 megabytes of dependencies, and for most of them, I had no idea what they were doing. Trying to update them would often break things, and I would have to spend an afternoon (if I was lucky) fixing them. Worst of all, I kept using these distractions as a way to procrastinate on actually doing the things that were important to me.

Thinking about the state of the internet provided a funny metaphorical backdrop to my own internal struggles. Websites (including my old one) keep focusing on selling. They litter themselves with javascript, pop-ups, and animations that make text hard to read. They try to perform Jedi mind tricks on readers to capture their attention and eventually monetize them. In doing this, they often forget to do the one thing that they should be doing: provide valuable content in an accessible way. Maybe they’re solving a problem, but it’s not the one they originally set out to solve.

I had also become so caught up in producing a particular image of myself (to readers, to potential employers, and to me) that I had forgotten why I was doing things to begin with.

I wanted to write a book because I felt like I had things to say. I write because I want to communicate things, and that has value in itself. I also write because I feel like it is a magical thing when that exercise in self-expression finds a home in someone else’s heart. Finally, I write because it gives me aesthetic pleasure to do so. It’s fulfilling a creative urge that finds little expression elsewhere.

Everything else is just noise, and I was too caught up in it.

This blog is a course correction. I started it at the same time that I set a date to send out my book to beta readers. It doesn’t try to sell or monetize anything. There is no javascript, there are no ads, and there is no tracking. The whole thing is far less than 1 megabyte, and updating it does not break. My résumé isn’t here, and I’m making a conscious effort not to sell myself. Bear with me, it’s a hard habit to train myself out of. I will still need it in other areas of my life - just not here.

If I ever need to have a different website that serves a different purpose, I will. Just not here.

I hope that whoever ends up staying with this blog appreciates its content. I also hope to regain the ability to focus on what fulfills me, instead of feeling pressured to maintain an image that brings me little joy.

  1. Most of the content will not be ported over to this website. I might port over a post (or two) that I think is meaningful, but the default is that most things will be preserved on the old github repository, and nowhere else. ↩︎

#journaling #development