Taco Steemers

A personal blog.

Thinking about how to organise my writing

I am often conflicted on where to keep my notes. Specifically, notes that can be public and that I would like to be able to access from work devices as well as private devices. Things I know I will want to look up again in the future. Preferably I would just post them here, on my website. However, I often don't, for a number of reasons.

  • Information can easily become outdated.
  • Sharing can feel uncomfortable because I might write something that is incorrect.
  • I think the notes are not high-quality, in-depth or useful enough for others.
  • I think nobody will find them anyway, so why share.
  • I'm not sure where to place them. Should I place them as blog posts or separate notes?

As a result I tend to lose these type of notes, or I don't even bother to create them.

In this post I want to talk about the last point. Where would I place them? Notes will be added to over time. Blog posts don't expand in size, though there may be corrections. Notes don't have a story, they usually consist of a few bullet points, command examples and documentation links. I don't feel that blog posts and notes are a good mix.

Notes and blog posts could both be created as blog posts, and then separated by categories. They would both show up in posts lists and share tags. As a result the notes would be easy to find. One downside might be that blog posts don't have any hierarchical sorting. They have only chronological sorting. I could work around that by just using one page per topic, expanding the page over time, and then linking the topics with tags.
The main benefit of adding my notes as blog posts would be that they can then share tags with the actual blog posts. This improves the discoverability of the notes as well as the blog posts. Some notes are already on this website, on the page "Code Notes and Snippets", which itself is hidden on another page. Not easy to find, and it doesn't feel likely someone else might find the information when they need it.

It would be great if it was easier to find what I wrote. For that reason I think I will start turning my notes in to blog posts. Even though conceptually they are not a good match. The blog post listing and the category pages will make the notes easier to find.

There are some open questions:

  • How can I leave them out of the automatically generated RSS feed?
  • What will I do with the existing notes?
  • How can I make it really easy to add and edit notes? Currently, my website is statically generated from a specific computer.
  • How can I make my non-public writing accessible to myself on my private devices as well as my work devices?
  • What category name should I use for the notes? I already use "General Notes" and "Technical Notes" for my blog posts. Maybe something like "Quick Notes"?

Perhaps I should not get too many categories. The current "Technical Notes" could move to "General Notes". The quick notes could then move to "Technical notes".

It does occur to me that I am perhaps making things too difficult.