#004: Achievements, Throwbacks & Highlights

This year has been a weirdly disruptive and lemon kind of year. But when life gives you lemons, you make a lemon cake. Here’s what my cake looks like.

Medium

My technical writing journey started on Medium, way back in 2019. I was writing on the platform before that but didn’t really start writing about code until early last year.

A few months ago, I decided to leave every major publication on Medium and created my own. I did this because I wanted to retain my voice as a writer, build better relationships with my readers, and have better control over what happened to the pieces I published. While this initially shrank my distribution and readership, my new publication did manage to snap up 1.1k followers with no promotion.

Overall, I’m currently fluctuating between 85k to 120k people looking at my published content monthly – something which I find amazing since I’ve hardly published on the platform this year.

Here are my biggest hits of all time:

Here are my highlight hits from 2020:

DottedSquirrel

Last year, a lot of developers questioned why I didn’t make my content free. There were several reasons and one of them had to do with reach and distribution on Medium. But that’s a different story. At the end of 2019, I decided to make my code related content free and created a mirror on a domain that I’ve been sitting on since the end of my University days.

After all these years, dottedsquirrel.com has finally turned into something useful.

Over the last 12 months, it’s had 3.78 million search impressions on Google and 99.9k visitors to the site. That’s 99.9k extra people outside of Medium’s content ecosystem that may have benefited in some way from my writing.

Looking at the stats now, that’s a lot of people reached.

Other Places and Spaces

Over the past 12 months, I’ve digitally met with some really cool people online and I’ve had the opportunity to contribute code-related content to their sites. Here’s the list:

Now for the failures

While all this looks impressive, I have had significant failures and lessons learned from the experience. Starting with….

Youtube

It turns out I’m a writer. There is also something weird about listening to my own voice playback over and over again while I’m trying to edit the content. It turns out that the act of recording, editing, and uploading takes a lot more time than I anticipated.

I tried the YouTube thing in 2019, but that didn’t work out. I tried it again in 2020, and it didn’t work out. Maybe I’ll try it again in 2021 but smarter and better, and it might just go the way I want it to go.

I did, however, get 222 subscribers and a lifetime view of 3.09k from the exercise. Not exactly YouTube famous but it’s a starting point.

The book that was supposed to be

I tried writing a book last year, but I didn’t have enough time to finish it up. I tried again this year, and I just ended up publishing parts of it for free on dottedsquirrel and Medium.

Next year, I’m not going to try and write a book. Instead, I’m going to do something a bit more bite-sized. More on that later.

Apps, games, and grand dreams

In between my coding tickets and writing, I daydreamed about the apps I was going to make but they never materialized. I feel like this is a common thing for many developers where life and things just simply get in the way.

What exactly did I learn from all of this?

The things I don’t complete tend to reappear again in some form. YouTube, the book, the apps and game daydreams – they are things that happen every year but never get completed. In part, it’s because they haven’t really made it into my true priority list yet.

In the past few months, I’ve been doing a lot of reflection on my habits and patterns, in addition to what I can change and control to materialize the things that I want to happen. The goal for this year has been to survive – survive working from home full time with a toddler at home, survive not going anywhere in general, survive the decluttering process, survive the late nights, legacy systems, bugs, and feature releases.

So far, I’ve done it. 2021 goal will befocus and thrive.

Something is coming…

Something major is coming at the end of August/early September, so I’m working on putting the systems in place for it. I can’t say exactly what it is yet, but I can tell you now that it’s going to be something that will change the way I work.

Final Thoughts

I’ve learned a lot beyond my core domain of knowledge this year. From content marketing and SEO to parenting and mindful minimalism. Work-life balance is something that I’m still working on and it’s something that I’ll probably be continuously looking for ways to improve.

As we charge ahead towards 2021, I’m using these final days to prep for the year ahead. It’ll probably make a feature at some point in these newsletters, in addition to my usual format. For my long time followers, thank you for sticking with me. For those that just discovered me, hello and welcome to the journey.

— Aphinya

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I code. I write. I hustle. Living the #devLife remotely. Subscribe to my newsletter to stay connected with my latest posts and dev thoughts. Want to collaborate? DM me on LinkedIn

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