Josh Davis

I'm a Computer Science major that graduated in 2014. I'm an Engineer on AWS's Elastic Beanstalk and am living in Seattle.

I like to learn, pet kittens, and wear fluffy socks.

I never save anything for the swim back.

Latest Post

13 February 2015

Why I Blog

It has been four months since my last blog post. I haven’t been any busier than I have been in the past. I have just become a bit complacent with my blog. This blog post is just a reminder to myself Why I Blog and why I should continue.

You probably won’t find this as interesting because it is intended only for me. If you continue reading, keep that in mind.

Timeline

I wrote my first blog post back in May of 2013. I had a lot of drive and discipline and wrote nearly every week up until August when things started to spread out a bit.

This was expected as school had just started. After the New Years, I was able to go on a nice run which lasted up until June.

Compared to my earlier posts, the span from January to June contains some of my most linked to blog posts. The average quality of each blog post was also the highest it had been. Even a year after writing them, I am still receiving tweets and emails regarding them. I think this is because the topics I chose were more interesting than before and primarily because I devoted a lot of time to writing each post.

In July, I made a move across the country and started a new job. Since I started, I’ve only had 3 blog posts (two of which are of debatable quality).

Why I Started

This was mentioned in that first blog post that I linked a few paragraphs up, but here they are in condensed form:

  1. I started because I wanted to overcome my fear and put myself out there.
  2. I wanted to show case myself and abilities instead of hiding behind a curtain of anonymity on the internet.
  3. I wanted to “write for myself” like Dijkstra decided to do to overcome his writer’s block that he suffered from.

Why I’ve Stopped

I can come up with a few different excuses as to why I haven’t blogged as much as I could.

Excuse #1: I’ve been too busy (like with work).

This is a silly one because I still have plenty of time outside of work. It isn’t like I’m working 18 hours a day. Once I come home, I have plenty of time to do what I want at night. Most of the problem is that the time just disappears into non-quantifiable areas; many of which are expectedly unproductive.

Excuse #2: I don’t know what to write about.

This is a funny one; I have a huge Trello board filled with ideas that I can pick from (pictured below the text whited out for various reasons):

There definitely isn’t a shortage of things to write about there.

Excuse #3: There isn’t much of a need anymore.

This is definitely the lamest of the excuses. The root of the idea is that I have a job now and I’m not actively seeking new employment like I was when I was in college (and blogging the most). Surely I don’t need to blog, right?

This is bogus because the “need” should be intrinsically motivated instead of externally. I should have a “need” to write to articulate my thoughts, to learn new things, and to explore topics that I normally wouldn’t.

Why I Continued to Blog

Even though I haven’t been as prolific as I could hope; I still get a steady stream of emails regarding my blog posts.

Each of them is as humbling as the first. With emails from people saying that I inspired them, or that they came across a blog post and they learned a lot, or even just from people just saying thanks for twofactorauth.org.

Each time a new email comes through or I meet a person that has read my blog since I’ve dropped off, I feel guilty.

It’s like this little feeling of having let down a person that you have never met before if you don’t continue to blog.

If you had continued to blog about some ideas that you’ve had, who knows what they might have learned from it. Who knows how it might have made them a better engineer or a better human.

How I’ll Start Blogging Again

It isn’t a question of if I’ll start blogging again; I need to. I journal daily for private thoughts but there are other thoughts that I want to make public.

Stay Disciplined

The amount of discipline I have varies (at least lately) depending on the task. I have a lot when it comes to exercise, eating right and various tasks at work. Yet ever since I’ve graduated, I haven’t been disciplined with learning in my free time and blogging is a big part of that.

I have been a big fan of discipline for a few years now. The reason for caring more about discipline rather than motivation is explained well in this recent blog post that went around the internet a month ago.

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

This idea comes from Steve Job’s excellent Stanford commencement speech which is a classic by now.

In terms of my life, I haven’t been either of them. I haven’t been hungry to learn new things and to continue to do things just to learn.

I think the speech is a great reminder of why it is important and how it helped Steve:

The End

If you made it this far, hopefully it wasn’t too terrible and generic. Like I said, this is for myself to get back into the habit.

Be looking for my next post!

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