Over winter break last year, I went on vacation for two weeks. I had lots of time and not as much internet. With the downtime, I wrote three posts of ideas I’d been having. I figured I would post one a week in the new year.
I posted the first one, Finite States of America, when I got back. It got a little traction and so I wrote a follow-up, State Machinery. The next two weeks saw posts about The Coordinator and Categories in Objective-C. After a month of posting, I found I really liked having a once-a-week posting schedule. I decided to see how long I could keep going.
At the end of the year, WordPress sent me a year end statistics retrospecive, and it included a graph.
Each column is a week, and each green dot is a new post. This graph was coincidentally perfect for this project, because it clearly shows which weeks I post and which weeks i didn’t. (I missed three weeks in March for Ull and working on the Instant Cocoa release, two for WWDC, one for Thanksgiving, and one for NSSpain. I feel very guilty about missing those weeks and I’m sorry.)
Now, with the year over, I think I’m going to go a calmer posting schedule. Once a week, especially for the highly technical types of posts I write, is pretty extreme. I hope I can do twice a month. Time will tell.
Through the process, I learned a lot things.
The biggest thing I learned was that I could do this at all. In a roughly-mid-year retrospective, Throw It All Away, I wrote:
I’ve published 15 posts since January. It feels like a breakneck speed. If you asked me last year how long I could sustain such a pace, I think I would have answered, “maybe 4 weeks?”.
But I’m still going. And, somehow, even though back in December the list of potential topics had as many items on it as I’ve posted already, it’s still more or less the same length. I can’t explain it.
A lot of my friends asked me how I kept up such a crazy schedule. While it helped to have more people than usual reading my stuff and sending me positive feedback, the best thing was having a strict schedule and sticking to it. Making the blog a priority each week was the key. With 156 hours in each week, I of course had time to blog, it just needed to be prioritized over work, sleep, eating, social stuff, and binge watching the West Wing.
The second big thing I learned this year is that writing helps me figure out what I actually think. In this talk, Leslie Lamport quotes a cartoonist named Guindon in saying “Writing is nature’s way of letting you know how sloppy your thinking is.” I haven’t been able to source the quote any more specifically than that, but it’s a great quote.
When writing an argument down, it congeals into something more solid, and it’s so much easier to see the weak points and holes in the argument. For example, when I started writing A Structy Model Layer, my original intention was to show why structs didn’t make for good models. As I tried to flesh out my post and my thoughts, I realized that it was actually a more complicated issue than that, and sometimes structs are appropriate for model layers.
Writing so many posts helped me make clearer arguments and figure out what I really thought. I’m also glad that I have a repository of big, well-thought-out ideas that I can point people to. It was a great year, and since I’ve just started writing Swift for a client, more posts are just around the corner.