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Welcome to My Digital Garden

Welcome to My Digital Garden
By Mukul's Newsletter • Issue #11 • View online
Hey everyone,
I’ve been away a while, mostly to take a break and recharge after graduating from Cambridge. And it was on this break that I decided to rejig my content strategy to put more emphasis on this newsletter, and on my blog digital garden.
In this newsletter, I’ll talk about:
  • How perfectionism led to me taking a break from YouTube
  • What digital gardens are, and how they helped me overcome my perfectionism
  • My new strategy for posting content (+ links to new articles on the blog)
  • Links to interesting articles I’ve read
The TL;DR is that I’ll be posting more ideas on my website first, and I’ll curate these, along with other interesting posts I’ve read and share them with you in the newsletter.
By the way you can hit reply to this email - all emails go to my inbox!

With High Expectations Comes ...Procrastination
Back in June, having just submitted my dissertation, I suddenly had a lot of free time to learn about editing, and how to make better videos. The trouble was that now my expectations for a good video were higher, as I wanted to do the video idea justice, such as one looking back on my Cambridge Computer Science degree:
Mukul Rathi
Honestly this video in my head was gonna be the magnum opus so far, and well, it's like the ideas have dried up.
Tomorrow I'll have to rewrite my current draft to actually make it engaging.
Is the writer's block Parkinson's law or just setting expectations too high? Not sure. https://t.co/XkGeTMgdUt
Put simply, I was struggling with perfectionism and this made videos a chore. In addition, my time at Cambridge was ticking down, so I was torn between making videos and spending time with friends.
Mukul Rathi
I thought with the degree over I'd have a month to pursue all of my creative ideas and finish write-ups... all while trying to spend as much time w/ friends up to graduation!
Overcommitted + ironically am less refreshed than when I submitted my diss a month ago.
Lesson learnt!
Now it’s not that I wasn’t making content - indeed many of my drafts got stuck at 80% - the main content was researched, just that I procrastinated the final polish it needed to become a video script. But as the days passed since the last upload, so too did the inertia of posting another upload. So rather than fight this, and maybe burn out down the road, I leant into this and took a break to come back refreshed.
Enter the "Digital Garden"
On my break I read a post by Maggie Appleton on “Digital Gardens”. Digital Gardens differ from traditional blogs in that the ideas are deliberately not designed to be polished, but rather exploratory.
The trouble with videos is that they can’t be edited after they’ve been uploaded. However, blog posts can! This offers so much more flexibility:
  • Sharing ideas with you even if they are only 80% formed, so you get early access!
  • Being able to publish so much more because there’s no longer a self-imposed fear of it not quite being perfect.
The key soundbite: I’ve let “perfect get in the way of being prolific”.
So going forward I’m making the website the focal point for new ideas, and you’ll see that I’ve roughly bucketed my posts (getting more polished in descending order):  
  • Snippets
  • Notes
  • Posts - (my previous bar for publishing)
  • Featured
Okay these bucket names aren’t great, so I’d appreciate suggestions :)
The idea is that I’ll be upfront with you as to which bucket it fits in, and over time the good posts will get reworked into higher buckets and eventually trickle into YouTube videos and articles shareable to Hacker News and the like.
Here’s a couple of “notes” up on my blog that you’ll see me refine and shape over time:
The second post was actually incredibly liberating. I wrote it directly after watching a video that YouTube recommended to me and whilst it needs polishing, it’s still a decent post - the quality hasn’t suffered.
My Vision for this Newsletter
I do have one ask for you. Feedback. I value depth over breadth in that I’d much rather 100 engaged readers than 10,000 cursory readers.
So reply to this email with ideas that resonated, or even easier, you can now highlight and annotate the blog posts themselves!
Mukul Rathi
I've now added https://t.co/YNERJVIxz5 annotations to my site. Would love more feedback on posts, esp the ideas that are deliberately posted when raw / sent early to newsletter subscribers (always be plugging 😉)

Highlight/comment on the site to your heart's content! https://t.co/SuK3eRtLI3
I’m nowhere near the level of @swyx, but it would be my dream to have a community where we could, through constructive feedback, create some amazing blog posts in the process of, as Swyx puts it, blogpost annealing.
Blogpost Annealing ∊ swyx.io
On my part I’m going to commit to sending weekly newsletters. Hopefully the combination of weekly newsletters and the nudge to share in-progress work will lead to the creative momentum that I’ve recently been lacking!
If you’re still reading, thank you, and I’ll see you next week! Have a bonus link to a podcast I really enjoyed :)
Monzo CEO On Death Threats, Depression & Digital Banking Wars - Tom Blomfield | E86
Mukul
PS: How was this newsletter? Hit reply!
PPS: Yes, I’ll make another video soon. Hint: It’ll be based on one of my posts shared in this newsletter ;)
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I write about my software engineering journey at Cambridge and Facebook and share technical tutorials on machine learning, compilers and beyond.

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