Published on

Starting a Blog


Posting on social media isn't a first for me. But posting this article is. Even this website is new to me — I used to have a page that only had a quick introduction about who I am and some side projects. I never thought about having a website with a blog, but then I realized I have ideas I want to talk about.

Writing & Engineering?

Writing is important. It's how we pass on ideas from one to another, from one generation to the next. As software developers, we're told that we'll only need to write in the form of documentation or emails. But, that doesn't mean writing is less important because my field uses it less. In fact, I think writing is fundamental to a good engineer because it allows the transfer of complex ideas in a succinct and organized method.

Why Now?

There's no better time to pick up a new hobby than when you don't have anything else going on. Sure I've been working on some side projects, but productivity only goes so far. I took this time to really think about the things I enjoy without the medium of restaurants, bars, or even seeing friends in person. What I realized was that I love to cook and play chess. I also really like to ski, but I'm not doing that anytime soon. So I thought about something I've always liked to do, never had the chance to do it, and have the ability to do it right now – writing.

I think there are several reasons why I started writing that I want to share:

Writing distracts

In a global pandemic, no one has any idea what to do. You can pretend that everything is fine, but that can't be further from the truth. Nothing is normal, so doing anything is perfectly accepted. I think that was one of the first aspects of this situation that I had to come to terms with. So now, with all this time in my day and all these thoughts in my head, what better place to discuss than on a publicly accessible forum with a limitless audience.

Writing improves

I know as a software developer, my goal is to get better writing, maintaining, and reading code. But what I've slowly begun to realize is that writing good code isn't about all the languages I know or the different frameworks I can use. It's about proper structure, organization, and readability.

Whenever I look at good documentation, I sigh a relief that I'll be able to use the tools accessible with limited difficulty getting set up. When I see a good tutorial that gets to the point, with a table of contents and information given right away, it makes my life so much easier for the task I'm working on.

But isn't it the same as the things we read? Doesn't the structure of a New York Times article or a recent piece by The Players Tribune just flow? When an article crafts a story that describes the whole picture, it no longer becomes just a collection of thoughts. Good writing is around us, but so is bad writing. What I wanted to do is focus on how to turn bad writing into good writing.

And for me, this is the first step.

Writing is fun

When I wrote this piece, my initial reaction was, “No one will read it”. But that's not something that matters to me. My website is a collection of my thoughts and ideas — information I think is worth sharing. Whether it's explaining the difference between React Hooks and React state or working in a different country, there's a collection of my thoughts written down as a part of history forever. For me, an experience is how I've always learned, so if I can provide that assistance to someone else, that's great, but I'm also writing because I can, because it's fun. There's no place on Earth that I can talk about myself, my interests, and my expertise as much as I want, except on a blog. In a way — you can say writing is selfish, but on my website, I'm only selfish to myself.

Writing helps

As a software developer, I search for everything. It's ingrained in my brain to look up anything I don't know because that's what a part of the job that no one tells you — being a good Googler. Inevitably, I've come across programming problems that simply haven't been solved yet. I might not have been the first to Google the question, but for some specific problems, no one has posted or answered it on forums such as StackOverflow. Whatever the case may be, every problem hasn't been answered, but that doesn't mean every problem I've had hasn't been solved. In fact, I've solved dozens of difficult problems through trial-and-error. Now the hope is that I can return the favor by posting the answer to a problem I had and maybe someday down the line, another innocent programmer will stumble upon my post, and use the resources provided to solve their own problem.

For me, if I can help that one person make their job easier because my job was initially harder, that makes it worth it. Now, I'll be honest, I'm not helping to cure cancer, but there's no way the engineers of Apple and Microsoft haven't Googled problems before, and they're doing some pretty revolutionary things.

What Now?

As with all hobbies, the first time you start doesn't mean you're good at it. I'm certain that this article won't be the best I've written, but it is the first to be published on my website. A year ago, if someone told me I'd be starting a blog in 2020, I'd laugh and tell them that if everything in America was closed down because of a pandemic only then would I start a blog.

Little did I know...