If there was an award for how hard someone fell off the horse, my 4-month hiatus from writing would probably place podium. Although, I think we can all agree that it's better late - very, very, very late - than never, which reminds me: somewhere floating in the interwebs is my Wordpress blog from 4th year. In any case, I am getting back on this horse.
Honestly, I wasn't that busy. If I couldn't spare an hour a week to write about something, ANYTHING, then I'm probably doing grad school wrong. But then again, I don't work in a wet lab. Actually, through these 4 months, I was painfully aware of my reasons for not wanting to write, and there were really only two. First, I fucked with the design one time a few months ago and never got around to fixing/improving it, and so every time I felt like writing something, which I do pretty often, I first had to fix the website. Yes, SquareSpace is amazing and has all the bells and whistles I could wish for, but if I can't figure out the CSS to make my color palette exactly the way I wanted, then by God I will not type a single letter more. It's like, would you cook up the most amazing dinner service, only to have it served on a plate with JUST a slight hint of uncleaned grease? I don't think so. It became such a disease that I thought to myself, why the hell didn't I just stick with Wordpress in the first place? It's free, easy, and I'm not responsible for any of the design aspects, not if I didn't want to be, anyway. Did I mention it was free? Such is the paradox of freedom. Fortunately, I buckled down and fixed whatever I had to fix, which probably made no difference to anybody but me, and replaced those stupid letter images for the links on the homepage. It took as long as I thought it would, which was quite long, so at least I got the accurate estimation of the situation thing going on for me. Now that it's fine, I feel like it's my baby again, by which I mean the most beautiful baby in the world.
The second reason was much more bothersome, though, which I guess is a good thing when you're looking for excuses to not write. It's the problem of "who the hell cares?" It's the equivalent of an existential crisis for my blog, channeled through me. At the lowest level, blogging is my form of self-expression, and sometimes I want to express, but most of the times I don't, not to the internets anyway. Outward expression is not really my thing, I'd much rather express in my own head and be satisfied with not having said anything, which unsurprisingly applies to my day to day interactions with people. If there was ever a time to use "it's not you, it's me", now is that time. It's not just this website, it's my Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, everything. My Twitter feed is so sad that I'm starting to enjoy tweeting random things regularly because it's like shouting into a canyon and hearing back your own crazy voice. Also, I pegged this blog as somewhat of a professional one (by professional I really mean "content of quality" and "not rambles"), especially since it's linked to every one of the aforementioned social media platforms that I had the unfortunate inclination of signing up for. I still stand by that, because why the fuck would I pay for a domain name and design a pretty landing page if I wasn't going to link my real name to it? But the problem - yet another problem - is that I have no professional content to write about, at least not at the same rate as I have unprofessional content. This is hilarious because, as I am nearing the tender age of 24, I have lived enough of my life to realize some of my own tendencies, and one of them is that I would peg EVERY blog I owned as a professional blog (yes, even my tumblr, and my facebook notes when I really tried), and I would NEVER have enough professional content to write about, not at the rate I wanted to anyway.
All this begs the question, why am I still doing this and how am I going to continue? Well, I'm doing this because I'm paying for this website and I already set my baby up so why not. Plus, I have realized that I do enjoy materializing some of my very convoluted thoughts, it makes me laugh. It makes me laugh when I write it, and again when I read it a couple of months later, sometimes I laugh at how funny I thought I was being but wasn't actually. Also, not to suddenly get too deep here, but I do believe that our impact in this world is substantiated through action. If I can't take my money when I die, I sure as hell can't take any of my thoughts. Wait, I screwed that one up: I'm taking ALL of my thoughts with me, and nobody's getting none of it, so better to be generous now. This is a really hand-wavy resolution to my need for validation, and I am not happy with it, but refer to the next paragraph.
As to how, well, one hope is that as I move further along my research, I will be able to write about a cool paper or two that I've read. In fact, I've read about 50 cool papers last term and could have written up any of them, but that was when the design was messed up right? Also, I'm HOPING I'll have some of my own research to write up at some point, maybe some early results or something, as long as it doesn't conflict with potential future work or submissions. I'm lucky to have an advisor that's very supportive of the open science movement, even if my own stupid inclination is to keep things secret, which is a whole 'nother can of worms. Fundamentally, though, I think I need to change my perspective on what's professional/of-quality and what's not. I thought the San Antonion Spurs write-up was pretty of-quality, except that only took about 3 months to write in a summer where I had absolutely nothing else to do. Obviously, part of it is my fear of throwing out unpolished content, because it would be disappointing and also make me look stupid. But sometimes it's also a lack of self-satisfaction if I don't get to the absolute bottom of it all. I guess I will slowly have to come to grip with the fact that, actually, nobody gives a shit. I mean, I'm not writing for the New York Times over here, so why do I keep thinking that I am? I'm hesitant to make another pledge after the spectacular failure that is my pledge to write once a week, so I semi-pledge that these will get written in one sitting, especially on a stream-of-consciousness one like this, in an effort to deliberately put out half-assed content to overcome my fear of half-ass-ery. Is "Perfect is the enemy of good" too cliche of a tattoo?
I can't end this without a reference to this.