In November 2014, when I was leaving Red Hat, my then manager told me, “Dharmit, you write well.” I couldn’t reply anything to him because in my head I was wondering what made him say so. More so since I had worked with him for only about five months. Even more so because he has himself read thousands of books and, back then, I couldn’t remember having written anything myself except emails and knowledge-base articles for the work I used to do in Red Hat’s Technical Support team. His words amused me, but stayed with me.
I have always found writing to be a better way of communicating than speaking. I am someone who preferred chatting over talking with my girlfriend. This was in the late 2000s and early 2010s before we eventually married.
In Red Hat’s Technical Support team, we used to get interesting and new kind of customer tickets all the time. A few of them would be repetitive. Customer issues would range from configuring most common/uncommon stuff to figuring out why a system that had been running without a reboot for more than a year suddenly went down without any manual intervention, or why a particular component/tool in the system is (mis)behaving the way it is. Every single day, I would shut down my laptop with a feeling of having learned something new in the world of technology that day. We had a practice of documenting these issues into our knowledge base so that reptitive stuff could be easily found, and we engineers could satiate our itch of working on new problems (almost) all the time. Somehow, I always loved writing those articles and/or proofreading/reviewing them.
Before starting this blog, I had a few other blogs where I never managed to write as regularly as the usually disciplined me would like to. But a major reason for why I haven’t been able to write as much as I would like to is my perceived lack of ideas to write about. As an engineer, I have always thought that I should be writing technical stuff like some superhuman engineers I work with do. And such technical writing ideas don’t come easily to me simply because I’m not the best engineer at what I do.
I’ve always felt that my lack of depth in anything meant that I couldn’t/shouldn’t write about anything. I have always pressured myself to do something only when I am really good (if not best) at it. But being the kind of breadth loving person that I am, I know that I am never going to become “the best” at any one thing, ever. I’m always going to be a “jack of all trades, master of none.” How I use that to become “jack of all trades, master of none, but often times better than a master of one” is something I have to figure out in this lifetime.
Pandemic induced stress/anxiety/fear; my own experience with Covid-19 during August 2020; having written numerous pages in my different purpose diaries (a personal diary/journal, diary containing notes from the books I read, journal about ‘what am I even doing about my career’) over past few years; a recently made friend asking me to “try hands at blogging” as they think I write well; and a tonne of shitty ideas/thoughts that keep popping/pooping up/down in my mind made me feel that I should rethink what I feel is worth writing.
If I stop rubbishing myself to not write because I can’t write something/anything that would ever make to the top of Hacker News page, if I stop delaying writing till I feel that I’m my absolute best at writing (how’s that anyway going to happen if I don’t write nonsense stuff frequently?), if I just stop being a jerk to my own self, only then I could write more and, maybe, eventually get better at it after a few years or decades, or in the next lifetime, no?