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A metawrite

Published 11 October 2020 at Yours, Kewbish. 1412 words. Subscribe via RSS.

Introduction

Meta. Adjective. Describing a creative work or angle of thinking. Definition: referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre, self-referential.
– Oxford Dictionary

This is how the Oxford Dictionary defines metaness. When I first was taught the concept of self-referencing things, I remember being very enthralled at the idea of metaness, and decided to try to investigate how to make my writing more meta. This ended up taking the form of several mostly-misguided poems about poems and papers about words or metaphors about ink and paper, but I’d really prefer to keep those in a hard drive somewhere, never to be unearthed.

Despite those rather unsuccessful attempts at being meta (and I suppose we’re adding a new layer of meta-ness by writing about writing about writing1), here I am, writing about writing again2. We’ve been discussing personal narrative writing in class, I’ve had to begin the process of repeatedly answering ‘how would you describe yourself’ in various ways, and I’ve been reading a lot more about writing as well. Along the way, I’ve also been force-fed some NaNoWriMo (short for National Novel Writing Month) by The Algorithmâ„¢, so in conclusion - lots of thinking about writing.

In other news, I’ve decided that by the end of this year, I’d like to somehow finish 50k words on this blog. Footnotes will apparently be included, because that’s how Hugo determines its word count and I’m not about to roll my own function for that. I’ve also added a nice word counter for both total and individual page word counts, so that will be a handy check. At the moment2, I have 39488 words, and I figure I can attempt about 1k words a week, and leave some room for breaks. It also happens to be the 42nd-ish week of the year, so I am behind schedule by approximately 1.5k words, which is fine. We’ll figure it out somehow.

In the spirit of continuing to be meta about writing, I thought I’d touch on some of the points I’ve come up with surrounding this blog.

Personal v. Technical

The essays, if you can call them that, that I write tend to be either very personal and random, or mostly technical. Personal, random posts are fun to write, but get kind of tedious if I continuously do those - I’m a very boring person, and most of what happens in a week gets summed up in about 50 words in a ‘Currently’ section, if that. Technical articles are also pretty fun to write, but they are roughly equally boring for a) the people reading this blog, who are mostly all more technically able than I am, and b) me, if the article in question is a tutorial3.

In the future, I’d like to post more of my proper, narrative essays (that may or may not be recycled schoolwork with a bit more tech thrown in) - from what I’ve written this year they seem to be a bit more coherent than the ‘random’ posts and otherwise very fun to write. I’ve written one or two recently that I’ve really liked, so that will possibly be appearing on another week when I am drowning in work.

I’d also like to do technical devlogs instead of tutorials (I’ve only tried one tutorial which was a bit annoying to write). Essentially, this’d be something like a game devlog, for example, where I make a small feature in one of my projects or write a bit on how I made something. I’ve done a couple devlogs - Revshare for GitHub and the Blank Vim plugin both are proper articles. They’re very fun to write - I get to ramble on for a thousand words on how I made loads of mistakes.

Learning

I’m pretty sure the reason that I first started this blog was to a) flex that I’d done a thing and b) to learn something. Every article about developers starting a blog involves something with ‘oh look, I’ve learned so much by sharing!’ A perfectly valid opinion, but not one I found applicable.

Part of this might be because I don’t have comments or any sort of interactivity with these articles - I can’t really see how people have learned (if at all). That’s fine by me: writing about my process making things and destroying things4 is more about the fun of it than the actual sharing of knowledge.

Perhaps this is an indirect sharing of knowledge, and indirect learning - I have had to do some research for some pseudo-tutorials I’ve done to back up that I’ve written about the right thing, but it’s mostly whatever I feel like. Or perhaps I’ve learned how to communicate better, though I don’t really feel a substantial difference in proficiency. Then again, I haven’t even blogged for a year yet, and as they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Continuity

The thing I’ve gained the most out of writing is honestly having the continuity and rhythm. I infrequently posted in February and March of this year, as I figured out how and when and what I’d write about. Starting in July-ish with the CS50 ‘series’, I started to write each week, and that’s probably a good habit I’d like to keep up the next year and in the future. It’s rather relaxing to have an hour or so of time to draft5 one. Sometimes, that draft gets shelved - usually happens to the random, stream of consciousness ones - or it doesn’t.

People (all of two people, so still people) have asked me how I have the time to write so frequently. Honestly, I don’t. (Write frequently, or have the time.) I know some people who have tonnes of time, and continuously work on stories. Because of extracurriculars, school, and attempting to still work on some programming, I end up not having a lot of time for self-care, anyway, and apparently journalling is supposed to help with mental health: this is a journal, I suppose.

I’d consider myself a very consistent person - my GitHub boxes are generally quite an even state of green, my blog posts are roundabout the same length, I have a schedule that I keep, etc. Once I started writing weekly, it just kind of stuck. Just getting the rhythm and making the agreement with yourself to write about whatever, for an audience of probably no one anyway, takes the pressure of of being perfect. Also, it’s a nice excuse to pretend like I’m active in the ‘tech community’.

Conclusion

Writing is, at this point, something most developers do, or are expected to do, according to some rather sketchy career articles, I’d admit. I like reading developer blogs and Twitter feeds (even without a Twitter account), and I find nontechnical articles like this one fun, so I write similar ones. It’s all a big feedback look, isn’t it?

Even though I have no content for a novel, and none of the time that I’d have to take in order to churn out 1667 words a day, I think that this 50k words a year goal isn’t much of a stretch. At the end of the year, I can read through all the [inevitably cringeworthy] pieces I’ve done as a sort of reflection.

Going forward, I’d like to change the topic of this blog, write a bit more and on more varied topics, and maybe see if I can fit in an interactive article or too. (Looking at Parametric Press and Idyll is absolutely mesmerizing.) Eventually, I hope there’ll be a point where I can properly define ‘Yours, Kewbish’, but that point is very far into the distance. With a lot of the other work I’ve done, I’ve racked up a fair bit of staring at my keyboard within the last year - let’s hope I’ll continue this tradition for a while.


  1. Oh wait, I’ve done it - I’ve written about writing about writing about writing. But that sentence therefore means I’ve been writing about writing about writing… let’s not go down this rabbit hole. ↩︎

  2. As of writing, not including this piece because I haven’t even finished it yet and I’m not entirely sure how meta I want to be about counting. ↩︎

  3. Especially including screenshots. That is a nightmare in and of itself. ↩︎

  4. And fixing them again, I promise. ↩︎

  5. Which, let’s be real, I only check once through Grammarly and skim over once anyway - no real editing. ↩︎

Cite me

MLA: Ma, Emilie. "A metawrite." Yours, Kewbish. n.p., 11 Oct. 2020. Web.

APA: Ma, E. (2020, October 11). A metawrite [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://kewbi.sh/blog/posts/201011/

UBC citation style.

- Yours, Kewbish


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