A generic 2018 Happy New Year image.

2018

In which I attempt to write once per week in 2018.

I first started writing during the summer of 2016, when I created a blog to share my summer working abroad in Berlin and Singapore. That summer I posted 24 times. I started with the intention of just cataloging my summer but quickly switched to some reflective writing as well. But since that summer (15 months), I’ve only posted five times. That’s a decline from eight posts a month to one every three months — and the last two were a combination post.

I like to write. Or at least I like the idea of writing. Initially, I wrote to preserve snapshots of my thoughts and focused on composing those snapshots in well-scoped pieces of writing. Today, the purpose of my writing has become more a method to process and reflect, and the goal has shifted from result to process. Perhaps this is because I’ve recently started feeling I need more structure in how I perceive the world — both in terms of my own identity and general reality.

During the school year, my writing was the first to go when things got busy. The top excuse was that I needed large uninterrupted blocks of time to write properly, at least two hours. If I didn’t have that (and I rarely did), then I just wouldn’t write. Another popular one was that I really “had to vibe” with my writing, whatever that means. That mentality pushed back a piece I had drafted in August until… well it’s still a draft.

So to both combat this lethargy and hopefully improve my writing, I am adding some more structure to life, my writing! I am going to post here once every week in 2018. There should be plenty to discuss between all the changes 2018 will bring (graduation, moving, work), as well as the reflection I’d like to accomplish.

A quick note on what “more structure” means. I want to have more structure as I reflect and act in 2018. I’ve noticed that I have similar thought patterns across different situations, and I’m hoping to identify and define these patterns this year. I figure having an explicit grasp of them will help me better process future situations.

For example, I recently realized that my conversations with people often end up being in one of two categories: either catch-ups or reflection. While one isn’t better than the other, thinking with this structure and many others have helped a lot with understanding how people’s preferences play out.

A lot of people have recently started referring to this structure as mental models, frameworks, and principles (looking at you Ray). I haven’t yet found a term I like, but what I have learned is that written reflection is crucial to coalesce my experiences into this structure. Thus one goal of my weekly writing is to actively reflect more and thus further develop these structures.

Another hopeful effect is that the journaling I do (private stuff) becomes actually more unfiltered and less composed. I started journaling this semester to again preserve snapshots of thought, but this time I wanted it to be immediate and unaltered. However, journaling rapidly became lists of ideas that I would come back and reflect on later, instead of the low-friction thought jotting I was going for. By moving that reflection to publication, hopefully my journaling will recenter on myself.

Last thing — I switched from Wordpress to Medium. I think it looks nicer, plus it’ll be easier to manage my website as one git repo without having to deal with a WP installation. I brought over a handful of posts that were more than just travel diaries, and I’ll give Medium a shot for 2018.

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