I started blogging last August. Now it’s August again and I can proudly announce that my blog is one year old 🥳! In the past year I wrote fifty-four blog posts altogether—approximately one post per week. I hadn’t really followed a weekly schedule, of course. Sometimes I took longer breaks and sometimes I bulk-released multiple posts under the same theme.
I still remember the various concerns I had in the beginning: What if people who dislike me ridicule me? What if experts scorn what I write as too naive? What if my colleagues think I’m distracting myself with non-career-related stuff?… If any of the what-if’s had gained the upper hand, this blog would not have existed. Luckily I didn’t let negative thoughts stop me from taking the first step, and after releasing a few posts I realized that the world was less cold as I had imagined. In fact all the feedback I received, either written or verbal, was quite encouraging. A big, heartfelt thank-you to all those who took the time to send me kind messages!
Blogging has been a pleasant and rewarding experience for me. It has many more benefits than I can list here, but most opportunely, it has given me an opportunity to keep writing in English after I had left England. I can’t imagine how much my English skills would have deteriorated if it hadn’t been for my blog. In addition, the blog is a perfect platform to practice writing nonacademically and getting complex disciplinary ideas across in simple words. It has also allowed me to explore linguistic topics not directly related to my research area. Among others, I have written about language in sci-fi, bizarre scripts, bilingualism vs. dementia, and the origin of language. I have also completed a few themed series, such as a twenty-post series about category theory and a six-post series about I Ching divination. The informal research process proved to be equally interesting as the writing process for these miniprojects.
On the technical front, I had opted for a Jekyll-powered static site (hosted on GitHub Pages), because it is free and also gives the author full control over the structure and appearance of the blog. Jekyll is fairly easy to learn (there’s a book on this but one could also simply follow the online tutorial) and with some basic web development knowledge the blog site is highly customizable. Static sites by definition don’t support server-end (e.g., PHP) programs but that isn’t a big deal for a simple, text-based blog like this one. And more dynamic features like commenting and sharing functionalities can be conveniently implemented via third-party APIs anyway.
I still can’t believe that I have graduated for almost a year, when everything feels just like last week! My memories of Cambridge are still fresh, but I guess life has to move on. I hope I can keep blogging in the coming (blog-)year and perhaps also explore some new post genres or series. There will be a sequel to my Category Theory Notes series for sure, but I might also try to write some video lecture/seminar reviews (since everything is taking place online during the pandemic) and maybe even some fiction. Stay tuned!😃