Blogging every day in November

In the first term of my undergraduate schooling, I took a math course that was considered one of the most difficult courses in the university. Given that, ultimately, I would go on to obtain a doctorate in mathematics, one could say that that decision changed my life. It was that challenge that, among other things, appealed to me. The course was quite difficult for me, but I wanted to be challenged and pushed to work harder than I ever did before. Throughout my life, whenever I looked back to the past, I always regretted not having worked harder and accomplished more. I didn’t really give myself enough credit; I did work hard, at least at times. It’s easy to regret the past when the troubles and temptations of the times are easily forgotten or diminished. But what became clearer over time is that the difficulty in working hard is mostly in the motivation. It is, in a sense, easy to work hard when faced with an explicit, external challenge (at least for me). The work needed to pass a difficult course is more tangible and immediate than most work I have nowadays, which is often vague with unremarkable incremental progress.

Of course, one solution to this is to make explicit the vague challenges that I want to face. When I taught, I would have a difficult time writing lecture notes for myself despite being a useful tool to have. It became much easier to write them when I posted them online. Writing a set of lecture notes became a much clearer task when I had an actual audience to write for. Also, it was much easier to write lecture notes when I had students emailing me asking when the next set will be available.

Some years ago, I decided to try to write every day in the month of November. After some thought, I have decided to try that again this year. While there’s not likely to be a demand for my silly diary entries or half-baked mathematical ideas, making a public announcement is likely to push me to write every day. It might not be the best motivation, especially since the last time I did this, I stopped writing on Thanksgiving.

So on the off chance that someone is reading this, thank you. I hope at least a few entries in this project are of some value to you.


2 Responses to Blogging every day in November

  1. danny says:

    I’m reading Min. Keep ’em coming!

  2. John Baez says:

    So – what are you going to talk about? I guess we’ll find out.

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