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A Note on Perfection

The first step is admitting you have a problem

I have been posting content to http://samlinville.com since about 2006, when I was in the sixth grade. Back then, I used a pre-designed template from Microsoft Publisher to post daily blog updates about life in middle school. A year later, armed with a copy of Microsoft Expression Web, I started kicking the tires on HTML and CSS, and a handful of years after that, I used my first CSS framework: Zurb Foundation 4.

Through all of those years, and in the years since, this domain has hosted various attempts at blogs, many iterations on a design portfolio, and occaisionally, nothing at all. None of my attempts have lasted, and I’ve been deeply dissatisfied by each of them.

I started reflecting on this recently, when I felt the itch to yet again try to build a site for writing, ideas, and projects. I want to be able to look back in another 14 years and see a record of the things I did and thought about.

There are three things that have historically kept me from accomplishing this goal:

  1. I’m a designer at heart, and I nitpick my UI designs until I hate them and can’t bear looking at them.
  2. I’ve chosen publishing tools and workflows that have, more often than not, made it difficult to publish content consistently, and my site becomes stale.
  3. Most critically, I’ve never been good at showing things that aren’t perfect. I’ve gotten pretty good at combatting this at work, but it never seems to translate to my side projects and hobbies.

This time, I’m doing things differently.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking at a website that’s not quite there yet. And while I’m sorry about that, I’m also not sorry at all.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to set myself up for success here, and I have a few core principles I’m sticking to.

  • Perfection isn’t the goal; I just want to share my work in whatever form I have time to publish it.
  • I chose a static site generator (Hugo) and workflow (GitHub + Netlify) that’s flexible enough to let me evolve the design over time without requiring me to reorient my content and data each time. It’s also really easy to publish content this way.
  • It’s okay if some parts of this site don’t look great all the time. At the time of writing, my blog index page is atrocious. I hate looking at it, but I haven’t had room in my priorities to fix it yet. And, dear reader, that’s going to be okay with me from now on.

The internet is a really marvelous place, full of deeply nerdy and bright-eyed people who want to share their ideas. I desperately want to join in and contribute to this gargantuan knowledgebase and record of life, and I think that this time, I might just get it right.