My first blog post
Welcome to my blog! I’ve wanted to start this for a long time — in fact, I currently have 30+ drafts of blog posts waiting to be finished (most of them are still bullet-point sketches). For now, I’ll just explain what this blog is about.
Why did I start this blog?
To share my thoughts! I’ve always felt that a lot of my views differ from commonly held beliefs, so I hope sharing them will help others see things in a new way (hence the name of this blog: Unique Perspective1).
It’s also a chance to express my personality and show people what I’m like. In-person, I’m pretty quiet and reserved, keeping my opinions to myself. Maybe it’ll be easier to say things online?
I bet there are lots of people who I’ve never met but would get along very well with. Hopefully this blog helps me find people like this. If my blog posts resonate with you, we should get in touch! Recently I've been reaching out to people I find interesting, with surprisingly good success.
Another reason for having this blog is that it forces me to write. I started a habit of jotting down my thoughts about a year ago, which has been really helpful. Especially when dealing with complex ideas, writing them down seems to clarify my thinking, for reasons I don’t quite understand yet — maybe it frees up my working memory? Anyway, you should give it a try!
Lastly, I’m using this blog to practice my essay-writing skills. More on this later.
What I plan to write about
Most of my planned blog posts fall into the following categories:
Ideas that I’ve formed after long periods of self-reflection. Hopefully, these are thoughtful insights that actually benefit my blog readers.
Things I’ve wanted to say for a while — usually just me being frustrated with some current state of affairs. I’ll try not to turn these into rants.
Random ways to apply math to real life. I notice examples of this all the time. Does no one else notice them too? Maybe I’ll get to show people some cool ideas.
Technical writing, mainly in computer science. Blogging about the side-projects I’ve been working on, and new concepts I’ve recently learned. I’ll try to explain in-depth implementation details in an approachable way.
Updates on whatever is going on in my life at the time. These posts will probably be less frequent though.
Hobbies and other things I’m passionate about, which don’t fall into any of the above categories.
Originally I planned to completely revamp my personal site and start the blog there. But rewriting the website from scratch takes a while, and I’m too busy for that right now.2 I went with Substack because it was quick and easy to set up. But it seems like Substack is designed for paid newsletters, and I’m not a fan of the constant reminders to subscribe (e.g. at the end of every post, as well as the welcome page). Also, I don’t get to customize the look and style of Substack as much as my own website. Eventually I’ll get around to updating my website and move this blog there.
So I’m actually terrible at writing.3 It takes me forever to even get started, and even longer to actually finish a few paragraphs, and my first draft is usually bad enough that I rewrite everything. Writing this post took me several weeks!
Eventually I realized I needed to get better at writing — it seems like the sort of skill that would be pretty useful to have, even outside of English class. And since I’m a big believer in actually doing the thing you want to improve at, I’m now writing blog posts!
One of the reasons I take so long to write essays is because of a perfectionist mindset, trying to make my writing be exactly the way I want it. I constantly get this nagging feeling that what I’ve written isn’t quite what I want to say, but can’t think of a better way to phrase it. Sometimes being a perfectionist improves my overall writing, but usually I just get stuck at a blank screen or endlessly trying to rephrase a sentence. As my first step to getting over perfectionism, I’m going to publish this post right now.
This name was meant to be a projective geometry pun, involving the theorem: “There exists a unique homography sending any 4 points A, B, C, D to any other 4 points A’, B’, C’, D’” (you can think of a homography as a change in perspective, like in this diagram). But it’s lame if I need a paragraph explaining the pun, and I couldn’t think of anything better. Coming up with clever names is hard.
I hate using this as an excuse, but it’s a real problem. I always have way too many things I want to do, but never enough time to do all of them. It feels like I’d need 100 hours/day to complete everything on my ever-growing to-do list. I obviously don’t have that much time, so I’ve dealt with this by:
a) Trying to be more productive, getting more things done in less time
b) Finding ways to free up time in my schedule
c) Prioritizing the most important things to finish first
But these solutions don’t seem good enough. Prioritizing is definitely useful, but it doesn’t increase the number of things I can get done. And there’s a limit to how much b) can help — I only have 24 hours/day, minus the time for essential activities like sleeping and eating. So my main focus has been a), which I’ve made decent progress on, but it takes a while to improve at it. Having too little time is still an issue I’m trying to solve.
I’m not kidding, I literally failed two writing classes at CMU and had to retake them.