All that extended learning

Things are looking up today during this Saturday morning writing extravaganza. Rocky the dog needed out before the sun was up today and that helped kick off a bit of a writing flurry. Thankfully I was able to complete an initial draft of my Substack Week 16 post. That is good news given that it needs to go out for publication on Friday, May 14, 2021. That will give me a few days to tinker with the post before it goes live. Writing posts about machine learning is generally not a draft and go process. Those types of effort need some rework, extended drafting, and research. A lot of time, I end up with questions that need to be researched. That is the heart of why the process is important to me. I want the process of writing and thinking about machine learning to force me to go out and research questions. Learning springs forward from that process and doing that over the course of an entire year is the way to really dig in and be a lifelong learner in a space that is experiencing rapid change. 

I’m on a two week plus daily writing streak, but some of the posts were a little bit shorter. Each morning my goal is to sit down and write a full page of prose from the start of the page to the bottom of the page. Sometimes I sit down to write and that first paragraph happens and then a wall emerges. It is a wall formed from the lack of time or a loss of momentum. On the brighter side of that at least I have been compelled to cut and paste it from this Google Doc over to WordPress and publish. That means it is not a case of self-censorship it is just a case of not having enough time to devote to the exercise or the energy to complete the daily writing exercise. Getting past the first paragraph is the important part of the process. You want to start digging deeper in the things that might come to the forefront of your mind. However, getting to that point requires the time to just sit down and write for a bit. Over the years, I have gotten better about not producing throw away content. Most of the time that I sit down in front of a keyboard these days the content is either weblog focused or Substack focused. I’m not spending very much of my time investing in the act of writing academic articles. That is where my focus probably has to change. 

For years I used to keep three manila folders with the seeds of academic papers in them as I progressed toward publishing. That helped me move along better a couple different ideas until one was ready to send and out and share with the world. Getting going will probably require picking a topic that needs a survey to test the question at hand and drive the search forward. Given my academic training that is the way to really start to move forward. Conducting and working with survey research is something that I enjoy, but don’t do all the time.

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