I’m Writing More (of less)

Nikhil Vootkur
4 min readMar 29, 2019
Committing less, and more breathing room means more space for my goals

I joined Medium a long time ago, back when it had its geometric-green logo and no in-your-face revenue model. I’ve always loved the content made accessible through Medium, especially everything written by and for designers. It is because of designers (who happen to be incredible writers) like Pablo Stanley — whose comics ignited a spark in a young, sixth grade Nikhil — that I began venturing into design. My affinity for design and art was something constant in my life, and something which I held near and dear to my heart. I wanted to do everything a trendy, 2014 designer did. I posted frequently on Dribbble, I taught myself new things on a daily-basis through YouTubers like Mt. Mograph, I even wrote a relatively popular UXDesign.cc article, but, most importantly, I designed, wrote, and created for me. But, like many other teenagers with a laundry-list of extracurriculars and commitments, my burning desire to make something fizzled out.

Last Friday, I went on two college tours. RISD and Brown. Brown University is a relatively new goal for me. I go to a preparatory boarding school in New Hampshire, and suddenly the Ivy League seems more in reach than it used to — this might be an “objects appear closer than they are” situation for me, but that’s another issue for another day. RISD, however, is not something new for me. RISD, or the Rhode Island School of Design, is arguably the finest art institution in the United States, and up until last Friday, I thought going there for undergraduate studies was a given (or, at least applying). After my 2-hour tour of the ID and architecture buildings, I realized two things. The first realization I had was that, despite years of contrary thought, art school may not be right for me. The second thought, and the one which has created an unending internal dialogue, was that I wanted to be an artist again. It was a difficult experience coming to terms with the fact that I had essentially let go of art which, up until a year ago, was a huge part of my identity and life. So, I’ve decided not to give up on reviving this part of me, and to do so, I am recommiting myself to design and art.

Sophomore Slump

Sophomore slump is when you make it on the first try, and you have to live up to whatever expectations that result from that. For me, this was my Material Design article, which over the course of a few months, garnered 25k reads and a ton of attention on Twitter. I wrote that article for me, I did it with no goal in sight, and I had so much fun writing it. But when it took off, I sought for the same results in everything else I planned on writing. The key word there is planned. Today, I sit on so many drafts in Medium, all half-baked ideas which I essentially came up with for attention and click-bait. This need for “success” from my work is, in my eyes, what caused my passion to fade. The last time I created something on this platform was nearly a year ago, and on Dribbble, I posted last in November of 2017. To repare, I’m eliminating any need or desire for success, attention, or fanfare.

So, I’m starting by writing more — of less. My posts aren’t going to win me a Pulitzer, nor will they grant me an online following. They’re not going to be five-page essays, and they certainly won’t be thoughtful case studies. Instead, I’m going to write for me. I’m going to write once a week — granting some sort of consistency in my life again. It’s not going to be perfect prose, it’s not going to be inspirational, but it will be writing. I’m going to make something for me once a week. This could mean making a pairing illustration or a graphic of sorts for these posts, but it could also mean sketching a little more to get me back to being a designer and artist.

If you’re reading this, thank you for your support. I know I won’t get many claps or shares, and that’s fine. Unless I give up again, see you next week, Medium.



Nikhil Vootkur

Studying Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora @ Tufts University. Writes about identity, politics, and culture