A Note On Failure

The sooner we give up on something doomed to failure or mediocrity the sooner we can move on to something better.

By G. Elliott Morris / July 27, 2019

 in R for Political Data R-Posts


Earlier this year, I set out to write weekly posts using techniques of data science in R to answer questions about politics. But I only wrote 13 of such posts before they stopped flowing.

I failed.

I wrote the first post in the series on January fourth. Back then it seemed like a good idea. I was optimistic about my chances of success. But the free time that I had—both measured in actual time and mental space—soon went away, and with it, my capacity to think up original political analyses suited for teaching and my blog.

On March 29th, I published the final post in the series, about gender bias in media coverage of the 2020 Democratic primary. I had fun writing it. But by then, I had realized that I had much less time for the project than I thought. Posts had become shorter and less thought through. I was sinking.

So I gave up. April came and went and there were no posts. By May I thought, “hey I could pick this up again, fill in the gap with four short posts and get moving again”. But if I had not written one post a week for the previous four, I couldn’t convince myself that I could cover the backlog. Moreover, I didn’t really feel like I had a reason to do so; readership of my blog has sunk as I’ve shifted my writing to (a) my real job and (b) my politics newsletter, which some people actually pay for.

May came and went. No posts. Then June. Then July. By now, it has dawned on me that I should address this failure—and move on.

I won’t be continuing on with this series of posts. But I will still be writing about R, data, politics and the like. I think I’ll also start putting some more personal stuff on this blog. We’ll see.

And with this now not poking and prodding at the back of my mind, I can devote more mental space to exciting new projects. I have a lot to do, say and write.

I’m sorry to those that liked it that this was not a successful endeavor. Hopefully, you will still enjoy what comes next.



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