Writing

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About this section

I take inspiration from Gwern on the matter:1

I believe that someone who has been well-educated will think of something worth writing at least once a week; […] - Gwern

This section of my website is an effort to harness some of that creative energy - I consider myself well-educated; when I think of something worth writing, how can I force myself to write it down?

Blogging

The inherit problem with blogging is its temporal locality:2 the tendency is for posts to capture some instant in time, even at the expense of covering more information or permitting deeper content. On occasion, I’ll feel the need to go back and edit my posts: perhaps to correct a factual error, or maybe just to make the writing flow more nicely. But I feel like, in doing so, I’m cheating readers out of the facts—blog posts have dates; they’re linked in order of posting.

Is it rewriting history to go back and improve them, months or years down the line?

If you’re like me and you have trouble writing because the pressure is too high to get it right the first time around, then lowering the barrier to entry for a webpage might help. I’ve been working on a personal wiki for a while now. It serves me nicely as a knowledge base, and it has a low barrier to entry, but if I want to link someone to it—or access it from somewhere that’s not my laptop—I’m out of luck.

A reasonable solution, I think, is to create an environment in which I feel free to dump links, unfinished research, etc. on the web and go back to refine it later. I want the mental freedom to share the low-quality work that composes the first steps to timeless writing.


  1. And, indeed, have modeled some of this site after his, though I am nowhere near as productive a content producer as he.

  2. I’m referring here to the locality of the blog posts to the contents that they describe, not the blog posts to one another. One might go a long time without making a blog post, but if they’re blogging about what they had for lunch that day, the locality of reference is still temporal.