I'm writing this at 6:18 in the morning (all my best ideas occur between 23:00 and 7:00) after having finished Ben Goldacre's "I Think You'll Find it's a Bit More Complicated Than That" and I'm feeling inspired. I've thought about writing a blog for a while now, to allow me to vent my daydreaming on to paper among other things, including getting good enough at writing that I don't spend 2 minutes trying to think of better imagery than "venting onto paper" (yuck). It's always good to know why you're doing something, so I'm going to give myself the next 10 minutes to structure those thoughts into sentences.
Like I said, I daydream a lot, but the problem with that is a lot of my thoughts have never left my hollow skull and faced the harsh trial of being forced into a coherent mass of words (let alone face the criticism of others). This means that a lot of these thoughts are, well, underdevelopped, childish and overly sentimental. For example, I had a draft post here about environmental consciousness and guilt. It's a recurring thought, and I think that there's some substance there that I could develop, but I just read over it now and it's terrible (and uncomfortably sentimental). I hope then that writing the occasional post here will help structure these thoughts better.
Following from that, there are topics which I think about but fail to actually research, so I'm left with just gut feelings and opinions (e.g. PV panels - does their embodied carbon outweigh their savings?). Having a stab at writing these down will force me to actually read into subjects more and actually, you know, learn stuff?
Recently in my research group we've been discussing about being more active in our outreach, e.g. by publishing helpful reports (I would show an example but I can't find a publicly available one, which goes to show it's a good thing we're talking about this!). That sounds fun, and I'm excited to get involved, but it will likely be very practical content. I would like to have a bit more leeway and say write about the ethical implications of discount rates in planning models. This blog will be a space for that.
It shouldn't, however, be a place for me to spout thinly disguised opinions. As much fun as that is, it's easy and I have a habit of doing that too much anyway.
Finally, as I mentioned at the beginning, I want to get better at writing, and more generally expressing myself. I care a lot for how well a book is written (Ben Goldacre: yes, Nate Silver: bugger off), and I would like to be apply that same critical gaze on what I write and not be disappointed. Now that I'm writing academic papers I find that's especially important. Good papers have made my day (and sparked a lot of daydreaming), and I would like to do the same to someone else.
6:49 - not 10 minutes, but not too bad either. We'll see how often I post here. I think I will be happy with once every 3 months frankly - better to be realistic than disappointed. I'm looking forward to it!