When I graduated from college in December, I felt a giant weight lifted off of my shoulders. For the first time in over 5 years I was staring down an extended period of free time. I had from my last exam on December 21st to my first day at Intuit on March 27th (over 3 months), to do whatever I wanted and I absolutely made the most of it. I started by enjoying the holidays with my family & close friends, making sure to cherish that time with them before I prepared to move. I then followed up the holidays by booking a spontaneous 36 day trip to Europe, planning nothing ahead of time other than my round-trip plane ticket, and the first 2 nights at a hostel in Paris. After I returned to Wisconsin and recovered from my severe jet lag, I immediately got to work wrapping up my personal website and publishing my first post on Medium. The day after I published my first Medium post, I hopped in a car with my friend Ivan and took off on a 32-hour cross-country road-trip to my new home in San Francisco. My first weekend in San Francisco, I met and had drinks with Travis Kalanick, the CEO of Uber. A few days later I wrote a second blog post documenting the experience.
It has now been close to 2 months since I published that last blog post. Given how my life had been going for those few months I felt that my newly found free time away from school and the euphoria of my exciting post-grad life would lead me to begin blogging with extreme frequency. However, that obviously hasn’t been the case for the past 2 months. In order to get myself back on track, I wanted to devote a blog post to breaking down why I haven’t been blogging frequently and how I am going to change that trend.
Reasons Why I Stopped Blogging
1.Setting high expectations for my blog: I felt that my first 2 blog posts were of high quality and also of interest to others. I felt that many college students could benefit from my timely early career advice and I think an encounter with the eccentric CEO of one of the most successful (& polarizing) companies in the world is also an interesting read for most people. The problem with starting off with 2 high-quality posts is that it feels like I set the bar too high. I found myself questioning each new post I drafted since it just didn’t feel up to par. I also began weighing the value behind having a blog that strictly produced interesting and high-quality material. Any post that didn’t meet this criteria felt like a risk to my blog’s brand.
2. Fear of judgement: Let’s face it, our country feels as divided as ever, or at least as divided as it’s ever felt in my lifetime. Many people in our society are eager to judge & polarize others, and the internet is a powerful tool that those people love to wield. Anything I put on the internet will theoretically last forever and also be accessible to anyone. This is dangerous given the fact that I can convey a thought incorrectly, have something taken out of context or just fundamentally change my opinion over time, but still have the original content used against me. With that being said, I started to become nervous when I saw that thousands of people were reading content that I was publishing on the internet. Take my article about my encounter with Travis Kalanick for instance. I had people (who had never actually met Travis) reach out to me to essentially state that I was wrong for writing positive things about my experience with him since everything they had read suggested he was a bad guy. I wouldn’t even be surprised if that article doesn’t come up at some point in my future. If Uber were to go down in a bad way, I’m sure there are some that would point to that article and suggest I had bad judgement or aligned myself with the wrong people. *Side note: this fear of negative judgement is also why I have been way less active on Facebook as of late.*
3. My Schedule: While I feel that this one has had the smallest effect, I would be lying to myself if I didn’t admit my new schedule had something to do with my lack of blogging. For starters, I simply have way less time than I did during those 3 months between graduation and work. Frankly, Intuit does a great job of allowing for work-life balance. However, I also live 1.5 hours from campus and have been trying to put in extra hours since I am passionate about my work. For instance, there’s days where I leave my apartment at 8 am and do not walk back in the doorway until 8:30 pm. Granted, even that makes it sound more intense than it is seeing as I have 2–3 hours to do anything I want on the shuttle and if I do stay on campus that long it’s usually because I decide to workout, shower and have dinner there. Aside from the time component though, my schedule is also a hindrance because it limits the amount of new material I have to write about. At least 8 hours of each weekday is devoted to my work at Intuit, and while there are certainly some Intuit-related topics I can write about, the majority of them I can’t. Because either a.) they involve classified information or b.) it’s in an area I don’t feel qualified enough to be blogging about yet.
I could probably list a few other reasons why I haven’t been blogging that frequently, but I feel that I’ve covered the main ones.
Why I Want to Start Blogging on a More Frequent Basis
Okay, so I’ve taken the first step which is writing out why I haven’t been blogging that much, but before I explain how I’m going to change I think it’s important that I take a moment to explain why I should even bother trying to change that trend. There’s a lot of different reasons that I could think of, but I want to focus on one in particular. This is a pretty dark thought, but one that I have seriously considered. The thought is as follows:
“If I were to die tomorrow, would I want to have more or less of my content on the internet?”
For me personally the answer would be more content, and as a result I must start blogging more frequently. Let me try to explain my thought process here. Remember how I just mentioned that part about the internet being a really powerful (and dangerous) tool because of it’s ability to keep things available “forever” and allow it to be seen by anyone? Well, I think there is an extremely positive side to this as well. Throughout our history, humans have relied on spoken word or written text to carry on our legacies after our death. The problem with these mediums is that they eventually disappear over time. Stories get altered over generations, books get lost in fires or floods, and even concrete statues eventually crumble under the test of time. The crazy thing about the internet, is that it is actually the best way to accurately store one’s legacy forever (or at least a very long time). So each time I blog, I am also leaving behind a piece of myself for future generations to read and learn from.
I know this reasoning may seem a bit dramatic, but it’s something I truly believe. Aside from leaving an online legacy, I think there also many other short-term benefits. I’ve learned that blogging allows me to clear my mind, entertain and inform those around me and it can also lead to great discussions that otherwise may not have happened.
How I Am Going to Change the Trend
I’ve now listed out the reasons why I think I haven’t been blogging as much, and also why I need to change the trend, now I just need to state how I am going to do it. In reality, I don’t really have anything special in mind other than to create a very basic rule:
Rule: I will release a new blog post at least once every 2 weeks.
Now, a few things to note about this rule. The first is that I can obviously publish more than one new post every 2 weeks, this is just the minimum threshold of what I will be publishing. Also, I am not necessarily going to space my posts out at 14 day intervals. I may decide I want to release a bunch of new content in a short timeframe and publish articles 5 days in a row. However, the one constant is that I will not go over 14 days without publishing under any circumstances. Even if I have to release a poorly written and rushed piece, by forcing myself to release at least once every 2 weeks I will motivate myself to get started earlier and often.
In order to help prepare myself and also garner outside interest, below is a list of topics I plan to write about in the future. I will hyperlink them to the articles as I go. My goal is to have these all linked to blog posts by the end of the year.
Future Blog Post Topics:
- The new Electronic Waste project I am launching
- My solo trip to Europe
- Have we become obsessed with Negativity?
- X months in the Valley- What has met my expectations and what hasn’t
- Video of a day in my life
- Choosing the uncomfortable path
- My vision for UW-Madison Computer Science department
- My vision for Transcend
- Chasing 0 to 1 ideas, and why I kinda hope some software startups will begin to fail
- Investing when you are young, know nothing and have no money
- Can we live forever? (Either Literally and/or symbolically through technology)
- Profiles on some of my awesome friends creating new things: Ashar Malik ‘Kickit app’, Matthew Starr ‘Rally Energy’
- My one month without drinking challenge
If anyone has ideas on something they would like me to blog about, feel free to shoot me a message!