Metablog – Improvements

Things I wish I were better at in blogging:

  • Developing my line of reasoning. I often am lazy in exploring the consequences of an interesting idea. I have the initial idea, see the immediate ramifications, and record that and move on to the next idea, instead of worrying at it for a while longer to see what else might result. This is an area where commenters like Beemer are very helpful, because they ask the questions and provide counterpoints that force me to take the next step. But it would be nice if I had the discipline to do that on my own. On the other hand, then my posts would be even longer. Hrm.
  • Similarly, I wish I were better at explaining my ideas in the first place. A lot of times, an idea arrives with a flash, and I can see how it relates several areas in my headspace, and I write it out in a paragraph in my blog, and only when people start asking me questions do I realize how much implicit knowledge I was relying on in assuming that paragraph statement would make sense. As usual, there has to be a balance, because it’s boring to have to lay out the whole background explicitly for every idea, but providing some cognitive context would be key in helping me be able to get my ideas across the first time without further clarification.
  • Related to both of those ideas, I wish I were better at explaining things in the general case. I think I can effectively explain my ideas in a dialogue setting, because I can see where the points of confusion are, where I need to provide more context, and where I need to develop an idea more as my listener points out discrepancies. Again, developing the ability to get out of my own head, and to anticipate such dialogue.
  • Being more persistent. I have a big ball of inter-related ideas that are starting to be addressed by the cognitive subroutines set of posts. But I need to keep working at it, and start laying out my brainspace more explicitly so it becomes apparent what my biases and blind spots are. This is related to the first point above; I go back and look at many old posts which say things like “Oh, I need to develop this further” or “I should come back to this”, and I never do.
  • Being more assertive. I tend to be descriptive rather than prescriptive, as I mentioned in a previous post. One of my strongest beliefs is that each person is responsible for charting their own destiny. I can provide information and a viewpoint, but I can’t make a decision for them, even though I often want to. At the same time, I think I take it too far, and am too passive about making a case for my viewpoint. I state it, and if they don’t get it, I figure that’s their problem. But if I could make my case more clearly, and relate it more explicitly to their situational needs, then I would be far more persuasive. Again, this is related to the second point above, where I need to make it clear how my ideas apply to anybody outside of my own headspace.

This is a post I’ve been mulling about for a while. It’s not a cry for help or reassurance or anything like that. Just things I’d like to work on. I guess the reason I’m stating it publicly is that laying it out explicitly is helpful in getting me to recognize these tendencies in myself. First step is admitting you have a problem, and all that.