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Intentional Cyclicality

(Being a bit seasonal on purpose.)

March 06, 2018 (updated May 29, 2019)Filed under blog#writingMarkdown source

If you look closely at my written output on this site (and indeed on all the previous incarnations of it), you’ll notice a sort of trend: repeating cycles of substantial output, usually focused in a particular direction, followed by a period of silence and then, when I start back up, usually a different topic at the fore.

Over the last year, for example, you can see phases of emphasis on TypeScript and on art, phases where I wrote on a mix including productivity and on programming languages and type theory. But you can also see gaps. Nothing at all appeared here between August and November last year.

This morning, I was reading Alan Jacobs at his Text Patterns blog (this post, if you’re curious), and thinking on his “I’m back!” post from a few days ago. Since I started reading Jacobs a few years ago, I’ve watched him go through a number of cycles: he’ll simply say “I have other things I need to do now; I have no idea if I’ll pick this specific site back up, but if I do it won’t be for a good long while!” and be on his way. The site will sit dormant for the better part of a year. And then: “I’m back!” (I doubt Jacobs will ever stop blogging; he seems to find it a fruitful medium for many of the same reasons I do.)

The thought that caught my attention today is what Jacobs got up to in the meantime. My breaks tend to be forced on me by simply running out of steam or getting distracted by other projects. Jacobs… writes whole books ranging from the popular (and important!) to the academic (and important!).

As to why that caught my attention so: I also read Stephanie Hurlburt, and her most recent post had me thinking on plans and goals and hopes.

I’ve been thinking for a while now about how I accomplish both my day-to-day goals and my longer-term aims. Some of the things I want to do are, like Hurlburt’s bigger goals listed near the end of that post, in the 5–10-year category! Accomplishing some of those kinds of things requires focus, discipline, and time. All of which together suggest the importance of recognizing that the kinds of cycles I have fallen into naturally are not bad things, but that I might be better served by letting my other goals and aims directly inform how much I blog (rather than its being mere incidental fallout).

More on this later. For now I have a conference workshop to finish preparing for and three New Rustacean episodes planned for the month.

(Yes. I did that on purpose.)