I’ve started “Meta Redux” on my birthday one year ago. I had plenty of ambitious goals when I kicked off the new blog and now it’s time to examine how well I’ve done with respect to them.

In total I wrote 52 articles, which conveniently means that on average I wrote one article per week. That’s way more than I used to be writing on the old blog before retiring it, so I’m reasonably happy with myself. As usual, however, there’s plenty of room for improvement. For one, I planned to write more essay-like articles in the spirit of nREPL Redux and Ruby’s Creed, but I ended up writing way more release announcements, tutorials and short articles instead. I also wrote pretty much nothing that wasn’t related to programming. I really want to change this down the road, as (believe it or not) I’m passionate about more things in life than programming.1

One area where I miserably failed were my journal series “Meta Reduce”. I set out to do one article per week and I ended up doing less than one per month. On the bright side - that’s the only area where I managed to share some non-programming related thoughts. I also really struggled to find the right structure for those, but I’m sure I’ll get there eventually.

Another (small) failure - “Meta Redux” consumed most of my writing time and energy and this impacted negatively my other blog, dedicated to Emacs. I guess it’s no secret that I’m crazy about Emacs and I love writing about it, so I’m quite displeased with how things went down there. I’ll have to find some kind of balance between the two of them going forward.

So, what’s next? This year I’ve been spending a lot of time playing with Objectives and Key Results and I’ve been trying to put more of the things I’m doing in the OKR framework. That’s how I see my “Meta Redux” OKRs for the upcoming year:

Objective: Share my interesting thoughts and ideas with a broader audience.

Key Results:

  • Publish 1 “Meta Reduce” article per month.
  • Publish 10 essays.
  • Publish 10 non-programming articles.
  • Publish 64 articles in total.
  • Double the number of unique visitors to the site.

Nothing super ambitious here, but now that I’ve put the goals in writing it’s much easier to measure my success with achieving them.

Now for some random observations:

  • I’ve rarely written anything while traveling. I’m really struggling with writing when I don’t have a comfortable desk and a real keyboard. Not to mention I have the laptop with the worst keyboard in the world…
  • I’ve started way more articles than I actually finished.
  • I spend more time editing something than I spend writing the initial draft.2
  • Switching back to Jekyll from Octopress really helped. Hooray for simple tools! I tried at some point using Hugo, but I found its tool-chain to be more complex than Jekyll’s. That’s partially related to my background as a Ruby developer, but it has more to do with the fact that the initial process of setting up a Hugo blog and customizing a theme there is more involved.
  • It’s really hard to find nice looking, free and well-maintained Jekyll themes. Most of the famous themes seem to be abandoned or with 20 competing forks. That’s a bummer, but at least the default Minima theme is quite compatible with my sense of aesthetics.
  • Writing some simple Jekyll helpers for Emacs (e.g. to link to another article) was a real productivity booster.
  • My readers are much better proofreaders than me.

In the end of the day, however, for me the most important thing is that I’m happy with “Meta Redux”. It feels great to share my thoughts in writing. For some crazy reason I genuinely believe I’ve learned some importantly things in life (and on the job) that might be useful to others. I hope you enjoy my ramblings as much as I enjoy producing them! Until next time!

  1. That’s why I opted for programming-inspired, yet programming-neutral name for the blog. 

  2. Unless it’s some straightforward tutorial.