Writing

Writing on a wiki is a different thing to writing on a blog. On a blog, your words are basically in a chronology, and you're not particularly expected to go back and edit them very much. A wiki, on the other hand, makes the subject of the words the most important thing, much more important than when they were written, and the words are meant to be revisited reasonably often (even if it's just to add links to newer pages). This difference takes a bit of getting used to, but I think it ultimately makes for better writing and more cohesive websites. It also keeps you on topic more, because each page has to have a title and that title sets the scope of the words.

One of the problems with the topical-page approach is that often one doesn't have any idea of what's to be written until after it's been written, and so it's really much nicer if the title can be determined later. The simplest workaround to this is just to use whatever title to start with—even complete gibberish—and rename the page later (maybe much later; it doesn't really matter, so long as the links aren't broken).

I shifted this website from a blog (on WordPress) to a wiki (on MediaWiki) in 2016, and in doing so imported lots of what I'd written over the last ten years or so. I just dumped it all into pages, and figured I'd get back and reformat and sort things out when I had time. I guess I still might, one day! There are rules to be learnt first though, things like "every page should link to an 'index' type of page, that lists it in its place in the wiki-web" (although, that sounds a bit wrong; the real rule is a bit different to that).

A better, more general rule: every morning, before beginning work, sit down and write 500 words about whatever is in your head at that moment. This will clear the air, and make it marvelously obvious what needs to be worked on next. Starting work without knowing what to work on is the most demoralizing thing one can do!

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