Hi, I’m Erika Rowland (a.k.a. erikareads). Hi, I’m Erika. I’m an Ops-shaped Software Engineer, Toolmaker, and Resilience Engineering fan. I like Elixir, Reading, and Design. She/Her. If you're looking for experienced talent, I would love to chat. Published on Modified on

Writing From a Learning Firehose

I’m attending the Recurse Center (remotely).

I value writing things down because I don’t trust my memory to retain the information that I’ve learned. Writing everything down from the diversity of people and the pace of learning from the recurse center is difficult.

I had a great conversation about how to write about the things that you’re learning or working on.Special thank you to Aditya, Mike, and Rachel for their generous ideas! These are some of my takeaways from that conversation.

Spool Brain to Disk

Or, take notes as you go.

Aditya uses git commit messages to record his thoughts in the moment. Anything that would want to refer back to later, ends up in the git messages. It acts an append-only buffer, timestamped with when specific notes were written.

I plan to use jrnl to do the same, with a custom journal for a writing project I’m working on.

Lower the Bar

Write less and be okay with it.

Rachel suggested writing for 5 minutes, 1 minute. Make it a tiny habit to start writing.

Mike uses writing as accountability. A short summary of what he did posted in a public blog post.

In both cases, the lesson is to write less, and to be okay with hitting publish sooner rather than later.

Pair and Share

I often learn a lot when I’m working with someone else. This is a technique to better write down discoveries from those sessions.

Pause every 20 minutes or so to reflect on what you’ve learned. Write everything new down in your intake spool. Then share everything you wrote down with your partner(s).


  1. Spool your brain
  2. Lower the bar
  3. Pair and share

I plan to use these suggestions to write about what I learn.