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2020-05-11 - Why Do #100DaysToOffload?

Had a day off yesterday as it was Mother's day, and I didn't want to spend too much time on the computer. Onward with day 10 out of 100 now…

In my first #100DaysToOffload post I said a bit about what I might be writing about, but not much about why I decided to try and do it. There have been several posts on Mastodon lately be people questioning the wisdom of trying to write every day, so I thought today might be a good time to think about why I'm trying it.

The first point to make is that this isn't a huge strict commitment. Trying to post every day for 100 days is a target but there won't be anyone breathing down my neck if I don't. I may or may not make it to 100 days of posts, and that'll be fine. If I do make it then my 100th post might be on day 150, and that would be fine too. There's only really as much pressure to keep it up as you put on yourself.

I used to work in academic research and bioinformatics service, which is a job that tends to involve a lot of reading and also writing. Writing reports of analyses, sections for academic papers, detailed emails to collaborators, and editing things for others was a daily occurrence. I like to think I was fairly decent at it and pretty quick. Fast-forward about 5 years and I now spend a lot less time writing as part of my work. For that time I've been in high performance computing (albeit still in a university), and later a software engineering role in a company. Most of my writing now is quite transactional - short email replies, text chat with colleagues, brief notes etc. I do write long-form documentation but not every day. This has led to me getting out of practice. It takes me longer to write when I need to, and I make more mistakes. It's noticeable enough to me that I want to keep more practiced.

At the start of 2020 I decided I wanted to write a bit more, and that I'd go back to my blog that I'd neglected for many years. I enjoy reading blogs and think they are important to have in a world of short snippets on social media. I've never gotten into a pattern of regular posts but figured that in 2020 I could write once a week. I was trying for relatively detailed technical posts - like talking about the details of Infiniband which I'm using at home. Unfortunately the once a week rhythm didn't take hold, and I'm not very good at coming up with interesting technical topics I can go into in depth.

The #100DaysToOffload hashtag popped up on Mastodon and I read a few things that people had been writing in their first week. Lots of different stuff, some longer posts and some very short. It's interesting to read these no matter whether people have spent a few minutes writing or have clearly thought about a post for hours. Half the fun is the variety, and over the first couple of weeks most people seem to have kept up an almost daily rhythm. I thought that doing this would encourage me to practice writing, result in some stuff occassionally interesting to others, and that a daily rhythm has more chance to stick. There's more inertia with regular posts. Instead of a default of not writing, and having to choose to write once a week, I'm finding it easier so far for the default to be to write something, anything. I can always choose not to write on any day I really don't want to, or can't.

This post is day 10 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge.

If you want to get involved, you can get more info from https://100daystooffload.com.

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