Writing

In the beginning of 2015 I’ve decided to start a blog and publish everything I write. I managed to write a total of 51 posts this year which is an average of about a post per week. For a while I published what I wrote every day but then started trying to work on the same draft for a few days and only publish it when I feel it’s ready.

My biggest challenges with writing were:

  1. Keep being consistent and dedicate a few minutes for writing every morning. Even though it’s only a few minutes a day, there are so many distractions that it was challenging to make myself put everything aside and write. Especially since it’s something new for me.

  2. Write in a clear and readable way that I can publish and that will make sense for others. Before I started writing daily this year, my attempts at writing essays or blog posts resulted in unreadable drafts of random thoughts I have about a subject. I think my new habit of writing a little each day and then publishing it online, helped me with getting used to write in a more structured way starting from the first draft.

In the beginning I was frustrated that I’m writing a blog with no readers. I started posting my blog posts to online communities such as HN and reddit. My post Choose Shipping Over Using The Latest Shiny Framework got some upvotes and comments on HN which resulted in thousands of daily page views, signups to my mailing list and a few people even sent me personal emails which was awesome.

After a while I stopped submitting so theses sites, not sure why. In 2016 I want to try again to write longer essays and submit them to these sites to get feedback. After a few months I also didn’t mind writing a blog with no readers anymore. It already became somewhat of a habit and a small part of my routine. These days I have a few daily visitors but I’m not entirely sure if it’s actual people or just bots that passed my attempts to block them from google analytics.

Overall I’m happy I’ve decided to start writing daily and I’ll definitely keep working on it in 2016.

Running

In 2015 I went running approximately the same number of times as in 2014. However both years combined have less total runs than 2013 which was the first year I started running. I would like to go running much more in 2016.

I was qualified for the 2015 NY marathon based on races I did and I even signed up, but decided not to run since I didn’t train at all which means I wasted a few hundred dollars. I’m also qualified to sign up for the 2016 Marathon (based on races in 2015) and I should decide if I want to train and do it or not sign up in the first place.

Open Source

I published 6 small new projects on github and some of them are being used by others. I tweeted about one of the projects and the framework which it was written for retweeted my tweet which resulted in many more likes, retweets and I got a few new followers. I’m sure that if they didn’t retweet it, it would not be noticed at all. With open source projects, same as with blog posts, a lot depends on where and when they are shared by others. A good post or project will not get very far unless they somehow reach their target audience. It seems obvious but I think many people (including me) tend to forget that.

Reading

I’ve read 11 books in 2015 which is much less than I hoped to. The highlight was “The Brothers Karamazov” which became my favorite all time book. In 2016 I hope to read more and develop a habit of turning to books as my go to entertainment, instead of tv, podcasts or blogs.

Travel

I went to Japan for the second time at the beginning of the year, which was amazing. I hope to return to Japan soon and visit more cities.

The rest of the year I’ve traveled mostly in the U.S. I tried camping in upstate NY for the first time and enjoyed it a lot. We bought camping gear and I plan to go more in 2016. Besides that I’ve been to Boston, D.C, Newport, Philadelphia, Austin, a work trip to Seattle and a few more small towns in upstate NY I’ve explored on the way camping and back.

In 2016 I hope to travel more in Asia and go to China and South Korea.

Business

In 2015 I became a bit closer to my goal of turning my side business to a full time business. The first few months of the year were low key and nothing major happened, towards the end of the year I had a few incidents that forced me to become more active and do some changes that I’ve been putting off. The lesson I learned from this year is that I should not postpone making big changes fearing that I might break something. I’ve also learned the value of setting a small goal and then focusing on it relentlessly until it’s achieved instead of working on a few things and never really completing any of them. I spent the first few months working on multiple changes in parallel that were “almost done” which wasn’t effective, and then accomplished much more when I was forced to act quickly.

Now it’s time to work on a “2016 Goals” post