Hacker School, Monday July 28th, 2014

Before I went to Mel Chua's workshop, I already knew that I felt strongly compelled to write about things that I'm learning, and that I find that pleasurable and rewarding. However, I still harboured an attititude toward my writing as if it were an alternative to productivity. That is, I would think things like "I could write about this thing I learned yesterday, or I could get more work done." Phrased this way, writing felt self-indulgent, and not fully appropriate. I felt guilty when I did it.

Now that I have come to understand the role of the active-reflective process in my own learning, I feel differently. I have come to recognise that writing, for me, is not something I do after I learn, it is an integral part of the process of learning. When I write, I intergate the components I gleaned from active exploration. Therefore, it is not something I should put aside in favour of more "work". It is a legitimate part of how I work.

Now that I see a piece of writing as a valid outcome in its own right, I have begun to want to incorporate more code in my writing. I'm hoping this will have the effect of improving both my code and my writing.

I haven't been writing my goals vs. actual for a awhile. That information is useful feedback for me.

For example, on Monday I had the following goals:

  • Get advice from Zach about adding code to my Polya's Urn post.

  • Try to arrange to work with Jessica McKellar on writing a daemon using Twisted.

  • Fix my website to display a list of my blog posts.

  • Work on the Protagonist redesign.

What I actually did was:

  • Get advice from Zach about adding code to my Polya's Urn post.

  • Write a note to Jessica asking her if she would pair with me.

  • Work on translating my Python program into javascript running within my blog post.

The latter is what I focused on for the remainder of the day.

I had a few interruptions, unfortunately: I was tired from staying up with Zooko and a visiting friend the night before, and I tried to treat my tiredness with food. When that didn't work, I decided to take my nap at home to minimise the chance of being woken. I came back refreshed, but then left an hour early to see off the visiting friend. All in all, it was a productive day, and I'm pleased with the progress I made, but I'm eager to get back into the sustained focus I had for the first several weeks here.


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