A backyard of thoughts

The other day, I got interviewed about my work, for about an hour.

When thinking about the discussion we had, I realized that 90% of my answers were extracts from that blog.

At first, I was horrified by it. It felt like I had been cheating the whole conversation. I immediately confessed to the interviewer, which made him laugh. He skimmed the blog, was surprised by the amount of writing, and ended up calling it « the backyard of your thoughts ».

Some observations about that epiphany:

- I wrote 169 articles. It feels like a lot, but let’s break it down. I started this blog 10 years ago, so that’s 17 articles per year, barely more than once per month. More importantly, I imposed myself from the start some ground rules to reduce resistance: no minimum length (some would fit in a tweet), the title is an extract from the main content, no illustrations, no analytics tool plugged in, etc.

- At the time, the only value I expected from that blog was to reduce endless mental loops over minor observations, hoping that my brain would stop thinking about them if I captured them in an external system (hence the blog title, Rip My Head Off). This tactic worked. But the surprising by-product of that tactic was that writing allowed for better thoughts. Thoughts that my brain wouldn’t have access to without writing, because my working memory was too small to keep a train of thought long enough to reach certain conclusions.

- Taking the time to write things down anchors your thoughts deeper into your long-term memory. That’s why I was tapping into this blog during the interview: instant access to much better thoughts that I would be able to improvise on the fly.

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