Every Post a Data Point
Summer has always struck me as a good time to set new goals and evaluate the year. That way you’re not competing with anybody else’s New Year’s resolutions and you have the whole summer to get used to the new habit. I’m going to attempt to write a post every week for a year, and with every post, provide at least one piece of data with it.
Sometimes that might be a graph I made in R, other times it might be a link or maybe I’ll even build a few models and toss those in too. Another rule, every post must be between 250 and 500 words. Here’s a data point that says the ideal length of a 7 minute blog post is 980 words. I hope mine are more bite sized for a couple reasons. First, I want to make this habit easier to maintain and second, I want this stuff to actually be read.
There are three reasons I am doing this:
- This is my workout program for building my data science muscle
- Before I had no way to engage more deeply with content I’m reading
- Writing helps you think better
For now, this will serve as a project to improve my website. Today I created a new site with this static site generator. I’m converting it to markdown with this script, saving it in my local folder and pushing that to github. Next step is to modify the script to save the markdown directly to my local folder.
My hypothesis is that if I make it easier to publish short essays I’ll have much more success keeping this habit. Creating a habit is often about the trade-off between setting up a system now and maintaining the willpower to continue it later. The more you invest up front in a fixed cost the less willpower you need later. On the other hand, the more complex a system you need to design, the less likely you are to ever do it. This is my experiment in striking that balance.
To go with this theme of creating new habits, here’s the data point for this post:
Knowing they are being observed raises hand washing among doctors 35%. I hope putting this on the web does the same for me.