Note: I started this post on new year’s eve and am only just getting around to finishing it now. Not a good start to my writing year!

2015 is winding down. Em has taken the kids out to a park with a friend and her kids, leaving me with a couple of hours to myself. So I thought I’d reflect on the year was, in writing.

Writing — particularly in the technical arena — was a key focus for me at the start of the year, based on a journal entry I wrote in January. Here’s a snippet from that entry:

Writing has the effect of forcing you to understand a topic, and it conveys that understanding to the rest of the (tech) world (or at least the ones that stumble across your blog).

My goal in 2015 is to completely leapfrog everyone at my company, become the no-questions-asked go-to guy at insert_company, and develop a presence within the worldwide Java community… even if it’s just a very small presence.

In total I ‘shipped’ 27 blog posts (a few more in draft that I never finished), so I certainly didn’t reach the level I wanted to at the start of the year. As I look back over the posts I put out (a list of which is below), I feel a little disappointed in what I wrote about, because they don’t convey what I actually spent my time working on, or the technologies I worked with. I’ve come such a long way in so many different areas and I’m really disappointed that this isn’t reflected in the content that I’ve shared. Some of the tech I’ve spent a great deal of time with this year have been:

  • Docker, Docker Machine, Docker Compose
  • Cloud Platforms: AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Jelastic
  • HashiCorp tools: Vagrant, Terraform, Packer and Atlas
  • Node.js, NPM and the Node ecosystem
  • Atlassian applications: Jira, Confluence, HipChat, Bamboo
  • Google Apps (including a great automated user provisioning application using Apps Script)
  • Continuing with Groovy, Java, dabbled in Clojure
  • Other technologies like Intersystems Caché, MUMPs

But in a way I feel positive about my progress, and I feel like I’ve built a reasonable platform on which to build on in 2016. And on the bright side, even though I’m not publishing as many blog posts, I am writing continuously in the form of daily development journals in Google Drive, which has been a really good habit to adopt. Here’s a snapshot of my Daily Files folder:

So a look back over the posts I created in 2015:

January

March

May

June

August

September

November

In 2016 I really want to knock it out of the park in a writing sense. I’ve set myself a goal to write everyday. In effect I do this, considering the daily development logs I keep, it’s just a matter of pulling the interesting, important, helpful parts out of those daily logs and crafting them into something that is shareable. And I’ve got so many other things that I want to share over and above the technical stuff: my progress on a fitness front (which I’m really nailing at the moment), the reading I’m doing, minimalism and stoicism…

There are a few pieces of advice in blog posts that I keep revisiting when my writing wanes and I need some inspiration and motivation to put pen to paper, in the digital sense. A couple in particular stick out, Jeff Atwood’s How To Achieve Ultimate Blog Success In One Easy Step and Always. Be Shipping.. Both draw references from other posts and articles which are amazing in their own right, but Atwood does a great job of getting across the message I need drummed in.

My theory is that lead generation derives from Google rank and that the best way to increase Google rank is to be like a professional fighter: neither jabs nor haymakers are enough. You must be always jabbing and you must regularly throw haymakers. Blog continuously to keep your hit-rate and link-traffic high and write longer pieces, containing the high-value words associated with your niche, occasionally.

Here’s a jab.