The Value of Writing

September 06, 2016 — Published in Writing

Hello world.

When I was still a student, I was mentally preparing myself for becoming a PhD student. I knew from the experiences of some acquaintences that the life of a PhD student can be hard and stressful. A significant amount of PhD students never finishes their project. There’s the publish-or-perish-pressure to cope with, and then there’s teaching duties, research topics that lose their novelty over time and sometimes non-compatible supervisors. (If this is all new to you, take a look at the webcomic PhD comics.)

In short, I decided that if I wanted to be a successful PhD student, I needed to become a prolific writer, unafraid of deadlines and enormous to-do-lists. I started reading everything I could find about doing research, productivity, life hacking and mindfulness. The blog of Matthew Might, a professor in computer science, and Leo Babauta’s world-famous Zen Habits blog were my main sources of inspiration.

Both Matthew and Leo cite the benefits of writing often. I agree with them.

  • Writing forces you to order your thoughts in a structured manner;
  • Writing forces you to think about your audience and the message you want to get across, (hopefully) making you a better communicator;
  • Writing can help you find the flaws in your logic;
  • Writing in English can help you share knowledge with a broad audience;
  • Writing is a way of storing knowledge, knowledge that can be used to advance your field.

I work as a researcher and analyst in the area of digital security, a field that is highly dependent on information sharing between experts. Many security researchers share their findings online, for example via articles, tweets or open-source tooling. By publishing blog posts, I want to do the same.

I will share posts that cover various topics. I’ve had numerous blogs in the past, but I always tried to focus on one subject. Being a person with many interests and projects, I always fail to keep the blogs alive in the end. Thus, I have decided not to limit myself to one topic or field with this blog. As time progresses, I will translate some of my earlier articles from Dutch to English, and post them here.