Sorta Insightful turns eight years old today!

I am writing this while traveling and sick with COVID, which is the clearest sign that I am in this for the long haul. I don’t remember where it’s from, but long ago I remember reading a novelist’s guide for how to write a novel. It had a bunch of typical advice, but ended with “sometimes the way to write a novel is to just go write a f***ing novel.” That’s where I’m at with this blog.

I have a bit of an ADHD relationship with writing, where I will go a long time without writing anything, then stay up until 5 AM revising a post. Getting started is hard but sustaining effort is easy.


I’m done with writing MIT Mystery Hunt! Freedom!

The post about it was pretty rewarding to write, although “post” may be the wrong word. Credit to CJ for noting that the post was long enough to pass NaNoWriMo.

Did it need to be that long? Eh, probably not, but I kept having ideas I wanted to put in. I also knew I was not in a mood to revise it to be shorter. The revisions I did were focused on grammar, word choice, and overall flow, rather than deciding if an idea should be cut. (Feel free to draw a comparison to the Hunt itself if you want.)

To be honest, I do not expect to write a post of that length again. I started working on that post right after Mystery Hunt 2023 finished, and hardcore focused on getting it out ASAP. “As soon as possible” turned out to be 3 months, ending right when planning for ABCDE:FG ramped up. The end result was that I was exerting “write Mystery Hunt” levels of effort (10-20 hrs/week) for 1.5 years straight. That was just too much, and I burned out on doing anything with my free time besides vegetating.

My burnout lined up almost exactly with getting a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Let’s say my escapism into TotK was especially therapeutic. I’m done with the game now, and am still adjusting to not having a “default” action taking up mindshare. “I should write a puzzle”, “I should write about writing puzzles”, or “I should go find more Koroks” have been like, the only three thoughts I’ve had outside of work since last year. Gotta have more thoughts than those!



I wrote 6 posts this year, down from 7 last year. In my defense, this is a bit misleading, especially if I pull up the time stats.

Time Spent

I spent 189 hours, 45 minutes writing for my blog this year, around 1.9x as long as last year.

Around 170 hours of that was on the Mystery Hunt retrospective post.

View Counts

These are view counts from August 18, 2022 to today.

259  2022-08-18-seven-years.markdown  
372  2022-10-01-generative-modeling.markdown  
333  2023-01-20-mh-2023-prelude.markdown  
1929 2023-04-21-mh-2023.markdown  
114  2023-05-09-bootes-2023.markdown  
153  2023-07-19-ml-hurry.markdown  

Posts in Limbo

Post about Dominion Online:

Odds of writing this year: 5%
Odds of writing eventually: 25%

My priorities are moving away from Dominion. This may be the first year I skip the yearly championship, I’m not too interested in grinding my skill level back up. Still, I can’t let go of writing this eventually.

Post about Dustforce:

Odds of writing this year: 20%
Odds of writing eventually: 60%

I still think Dustforce is one of the best platformers of all time. I’ve been playing a lot more Celeste recently thanks to Strawberry Jam, but Dustforce still does some things that no one else has replicated in a satisfying way.

Post about puzzlehunting 201:

Odds of writing this year: 50%
Odds of writing eventually: 90%

This is a post I’ve been considering for a while. There are introduction to puzzlehunt posts, a so-called “puzzlehunt 101”, but there is no “puzzlehunting 201” for people familiar with the basics and interested in solving faster. I was going to write this last year, embedding puzzle content in it for Mystery Hunt, but didn’t have a solid puzzle idea and got too busy. Now I’m less busy.

Post about AI timelines:

Odds of writing this year: 90%
Odds of writing eventually: 99%

I’m not planning a big update to the last timelines post. I just think it’s time to review what I wrote last time, given that it’s been 3 years. (And selfishly, because I think I called a lot of things correctly and want to brag about that.)