life Writing

2021 in Writing

In 2021, I committed to publishing each Monday. Aside from a couple of narrow misses in October, I kept at it, making 52 posts over the year, up from 20 in 2020 (I wrote more about what this looked like in my retrospective: The Year of Habits). I had 4 articles on LeadDev. I sent 9 WTHIC letters from three countries (Ireland, France and the Netherlands).

This blog was seen by nearly 39K visitors for over 63K views. This is up from just over 25K visitors for a little more than 41K views in 2020.

Most Popular Posts 2021

  1. 5 Signs It’s Time to Quit Your Job – a late entrant (published at the end of November) but clearly a timely topic during the Great Resignation. Also one of the most popular 2021 articles in the LevelUp newsletter.
  2. Being the DRI of Your Career – what it means to be the DRI (Directly Responsible Individual) of your career. This post breaks it down into five lines of thinking: expecting less from your job and more from your career, learning from feedback, owning your professional development, distinguishing what your employer rents versus what they buy, and building your support system. This was a relatively quick post but it resonated with people, and I ended up breaking it apart and expanding on each idea within it.
  3. The Return of the Office – on the “Remote Work Debate”, why the pandemic experiment was not set up for success, and the disconnect between what engineers want and think works versus how organizations function.
  4. Three Core Ideas to Make Remote Work, Work – three core principles of remote work: Embrace async, Enable autonomy, Build connection.
  5. The Rent Versus Buy of Career Growth – by far the DRI point that resonated with people the most, understanding what your employer rents, what they buy, and tradeoffs that impact your market value and career decisions.
  6. Expecting More from Your Career (and Less from Your Job) – thinking long term; your job is just a moment in your career, what do you want to get out of it?
  7. On Being “Strategic” – musing on the “she’s just not that strategic” trap, and tactics I use to (try) and avoid it.
  8. Pandemic Burnout; Now What? – how living through a pandemic hits all 6 causes of burnout (only one is overwork) and some thoughts on how we can take the control we have to try and be a little happier.
  9. Coachability++ – slides and commentary for a talk I gave at Qz on being more coachable.
  10. Your Action Plan to DRI Your Career – a summary of the collection of DRI posts, along with a step by step plan to take control of your career.

Most Popular Posts Pre-2021

* indicates that this was also on the pre-2020 list last year.
** indicates this was on the 2020 list last year.

  1. Testing Intents on Android: Like Stabbing Yourself in the Eye with a Blunt Implement*. Intent testing was not particularly straight-forward, or well documented, and I shared what I found in a weekend of fighting with it. I think this is one of my best technical posts, and it’s nice to see it still getting the attention it deserves! I want to believe this is because more people are writing tests now.
  2. Unfriending on Facebook*. For some reason, in 2010 this search term was sending a significant amount of traffic to my blog, so I wrote an explainer.
  3. Rest Day – Buffer Day – Focus Day*. A post from 2015 about having different kinds of days and themes to make progress.
  4. The Great DomestiCation**. I did a detailed post about the complete house renovation I did in 2018-2019.
  5. How I Offloaded My Anxiety to Trello**. I wrote about my life admin management system, and how I use Trello to keep track of and make progress on the different areas of my life.