As you might have noticed, if you’ve been following this blog through the first half of 2017, I stopped writing somewhen in the beginning of June. This had two reasons:
- I had an important deadline coming up end of August, so I had plenty of other things to do.
- I had written a burst of blog posts during the ICSE’17 conference, which left me a bit burned out.
While I generally enjoy blogging, it is not critical to me or anybody else, so I follow Matt’s advice on (academic) blogging and allow myself to not blog before important deadlines. However, having stopped my regular schedule, I need to make an effort to get back into it again. Plus, the exhaustion following the deadline kept me from returning to my schedule right after the deadline, which makes it more likely that I don’t return to it at all. This is a cold-start problem. In other words, a motivation problem.
Live blogging during ICSE’17 was an interesting experience, but it left quite exhausted with respect to writing.1 Additionally, the deadline workload kept me from really recovering from this, because preparing a conference submission requires a lot of writing as well. This additionally reduced my motivation to return to my blogging schedule.
Now, I’m on the ESEC/FSE’17 conference, and just happened to chat with André Meyer about blogging. This made me realize that Academics Code runs the risk of suffering a similar fate as my somewhat-dead screencast project Let’s Developer. A cause of this is that, while I’m generally motivated to produce screencasts and blogposts (because I myself learn much about the respective topics), I find it more difficult to motivate myself to invest the additional effort required to publish the results (such as cutting and encoding video). To do this, I need external motivation.
For example, I ran Let’s Developer for about 1.5 years with a pretty regular publishing schedule (two to three episodes per week). During pretty much the entire time, my flatmate would reliably watch my videos within a day after me publishing them and start to rant about all my mistakes and the questions I had left unanswered the second he next saw me. I learned much from the discussions that usually followed and drew inspiration for new episodes from them. This kept me motivated to continue investing the publishing effort. About two months after I moved out of our shared appartement, Let’s Developer died a sudden death.
Admittedly, the publishing effort for a blog post is much smaller than for a screencast and I receive more feedback on my blog post than on most of my screencasts.2 Therefore, this time, it feels like the discussions I had over the last days on ESEC/FSE were sufficient to motivate more posts. Nevertheless, if you like reading this blog (be it because you agree or disagree with my thoughts), I would appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me every now and then. If you do, I assure you, more is to come.
YouTube viewers are a surprisingly quiet lot; their feedback is mostly limited to a like or a channel subscription. However, another reason for getting less feedback might actually be that videos are less accessible than written posts, in the sense that many people would quickly read a post while waiting on the bus or in between two tasks, but are less likely to watch a video in the same situation. ↩