Four years in the making, patiently waiting to unveil my website redesign and I’m finally ready for all to see! I tried.
No, it’s not just you; it doesn’t look like something that took four years of hard graft to build does it? I’m a perfectionist and I spend far too much time basking in the glory of ‘beautiful’ solutions. I like simple engineering solutions, elegant programs, and beautiful mathematics, and I aspire for everything I make to fit into one of these categories.
Well, to be more precise, I aspire for everything I make public to fit into one of these categories. So for the past N years, I’ve been learning new web development tools, gleaning all I can from various blogs, starting a new design with the latest knowledge, scrapping it some months later, and starting again. This iteration has actually survived the longest of all of them, being about two-ish years old now (probably using horrendously uncool and out-of-date tooling by now I’m sure…).
But, of course, having a funky new design that looks awesome (right?) is probably not even an item on the plate—a meal without ingredients isn’t a meal at all. So I’ve focused on laying up a table and making various sauces, arriving at a pairing that looks visually appealing to me, without doing any cooking.
Clearly I haven’t completely abstained from cooking else I’d be mad (bad mad). The mind needs nourishment just as much as the body does, but every project I’ve started over the past several years has carried with it a sense of “how can I write this up?” or “this won’t sound too interesting to others.”
I fell into the trap of needing to sell my own ideas to myself as if they were products that needed to make my online presence more profitable. Essentially, I stopped playing with things purely for the sake of having fun with some idea that interested me. Unfinished projects felt like “bad investments” rather than experiences that were actually complete, even if the project wasn’t.
All of this cultivated an anxiety towards writing for this site.
I’ve just read my friend’s post on writing anxiety which resonated with my feelings towards this site. I fret over everything I release to other people, be it papers, software, wiki pages, even emails and text messages. I pride myself in communicating clearly, so everything I write down needs to have my own stamp of approval before it’s etched into the public record. It’s quite daft, and I’m aware of it. Perhaps I’ll take 10 minutes to write a small email that my recipient spends seconds reading, but it needs to be free of spelling mistakes and to be grammatically correct for my benefit. Clearly Alex’s careful explanation of the three fundamental forces of the electric internet show that he feels similarly about his own writing.
Though it wasn’t eloquent analyses of these forces that finally convinced me to do something about my private plot on the web, but instead the closing statement:
I have met amazing people in the most unexpected situations. I bet you have, too.
You, fellow lurker, are a one-of-a-kind specimen. And we’re eager to know you better.
Take a deep breath, open up your editor, write your stuff.
And remember to hit the Publish button before you have time to think abou-
This made me think. Quite a bit, actually. I’ve been thinking about this site all wrong for the past N years.
This isn’t a service I’m providing to you, nor is it a product I’m selling to you. This website provides a service to both of us. To me: it’s an avenue to express my opinions and record my successes, failures, interests, changes of opinions, experiences, etc. To you: it’s a growing collection of writings that will hopefully inspire, entertain, and educate you, (though perhaps not all three in a single post!). And to both of us: it’s a way of connecting and discussing anything I’ve said, and anything you think.
Who knows? Perhaps that deep conversation about why 42 is so important might even happen in this very comments section.