I used to feel that a wiki-like structure was a better way to organize my thoughts. Articles like this influenced my thinking back then. Carefully gardened and cross-referenced wiki-style pages seemed like a better organizational structure than chronological blog posts that wouldn’t be relevant a few months or years later.
So for a year, I used a nice static site powered by mkdocs. Pages were maintained in git and written in markdown. Github actions would push the updated site on every commit. And the site itself was hosted in NearlyFreeSpeech and cost almost nothing. The site is still present here. But now I’m back to good old hosted wordpress and back to writing chronological blog posts rather than carefully grown pages. Here’s why.
The first reason is pure nostalgia. This blog has posts going back to 2006. Very few things I’ve done in my life go back 14 years and are maintained in the same place.
The second is the nudge given by this lovely little article on why one should maintain a blog. The critical realization was that it’s okay to not be original. That unoriginal writing can still be useful to the right audience (if one hasn’t heard the idea before), and to the writer (to help them compose their thoughts better).
Finally, I always take notes and obsess over improving the way I do so. The latest book I’m reading in that area is “How to take smart notes” by Sonke Ahrens. That and a few other improvements I’ve made in the last few months have helped me understand that hoarding links is a fairly useless obsession. A better way to absorb information is to write it in your own words and compile it into a coherent narrative. I’ve restructured my notes to follow this approach and it has helped me organize things a lot better. The last few book reviews I’ve posted were also due to a better note taking approach while reading.
Here’s a quote I’ll end with that essentially summarizes why I’m writing again, from the same book:
“.. writing is not only for proclaiming opinions, but the main tool to achieve insight worth sharing.”Sonke Ahrens, “How to take smart notes”