Looking back at my writing in 2020

28 December 2020
28 Dec 2020

I didn’t think “a year in recap” or anything like that was worth taking up real estate on my main blog, but was curious what I wrote and what people read most of my writing in 2020, so here we are.

What I wrote

I write in three places today:

  1. thesephist.com, which is my main blog
  2. dotink.co, which started out as a website for my programming language Ink, but is now where I dump all my technical writing
  3. linus.coffee, which is this site. It’s new this year, and I made it to put writing that I felt was less polished or didn’t fit my main blog’s themes. It also ended up being a place to put my art and music.

Across these three places, I wrote somewhere around 135k words this year, 81k of those in my main blog across somewhere around 75 blog posts. This is more than I’ve written in any previous year, and I’m happier with the quality of my writing I’ve done than in any previous year. I think that’s a big win, especially the consistency with which I’ve written.

What people read

Here’s a list of the top 20-ish blog posts that people read on my blog this year, according to analytics. This is probably a slight underestimate, because some big fraction of my visitors uses some form of adblock.

Analytics from my posts popular blog posts in 2020

Zooming in specifically on the top 10 posts, half of the top 10 posts earned their popularity by being on the front page of Hacker News for a day. The others found their popularity by being shared in other newsletters or forums around the web. Specifically, the two most-read posts, on workflows and tools and finding focus, both found their popularity on Hacker News, where they rose to #1 and #5 respectively. It seems like being in the top ranks on that site earns you somewhere around 15-20k extra visits pretty consistently. I also saw this with a few other posts that experienced similar boosts.

It seems that people mostly enjoyed reading my thoughts on two big topics: (1) tools, like programming languages, designing tools around workflows, and working on side projects, and (2) interesting frameworks for setting goals for your life. I’m sure this trend will continue into 2021.

Jobs to find the unknown unknowns

Hills beyond the horizon