Why Write

This blog has not seen a new post in over six years. So, why am I reviving it now? Put simply, the following lines from a Paul Graham blog post, “If writing down your ideas always makes them more precise and more complete, then no one who hasn’t written about a topic has fully formed ideas about it. And someone who never writes has no fully formed ideas about anything nontrivial.” This statement appears a bit extreme, but Graham has built this argument over multiple essays, and I find that his views resonate with my (albeit limited) writing experience.

In other words, my motivation to write comes from my desire to think better. Why, then, is it necessary to write in public? Why not write in a private journal instead? Writing in public can lead to interesting discussions with people who might stumble upon these articles, the benefits of which are (at least) two-fold. First, a discussion can lead to further refinement of my ideas and thinking. Second, a stimulating discussion is fun in and of itself, and might serve as yet another incentive for maintaining a writing habit.

So, what do I plan to write about? When I wrote this blog as an undergraduate student, the blog posts were instructive in nature. Like others trying to break into research, I often found research papers difficult to follow, and preferred reading blog posts written by researchers instead. These blog posts helped me build my understanding to an extent where traditional research papers became accessible to me. Each of my own blog post in turn was centered around explaining an approach to a particular technical problem, typically in the field of computer vision. However, I am not intending new posts in this blog to follow a similar tutorial format. While I might occasionally write such posts to improve my understanding of certain ideas or algorithms, the primary goal I have with the blog at this point is to improve my thinking for better everyday decision-making. It is likely that I will focus more on research or career-related topics, but I might occasionally venture into more personal topics as well. We’ll see.

I will conclude this blog post with some ideas for what I might write about next, in the hope that it might help me deal with the procrastination that I usually suffer from when it comes to writing. Nothing, however, is set in stone. At the end of the day, I want to write about what I can’t not write about.

Future blog post ideas:

  1. How to choose a research problem? I like Vladlen Koltun’s thoughts on this front, and I will likely draw on them as I solidify my own thinking in this regard.
  2. How to become a better writer? If I am going to do something, I might as well do it well. I plan to start by looking at what others have written on this topic, and then try and figure out what does (and does not) work for me.