The last time I published a blog post was in 2014. I think. Was it 2013? Something after that stopped me from publishing. I moved from wordpress to a new website to another website. Now, maybe in a futile effort, I’d like to give it a try again.
I’ve been thinking of writing for a while. Not journalling - I already do that, albeit not so religiously. Not technical writing - I do that for work and research all the time. But blogging - putting this big blob of text which ties together a few ideas (my ideas!) loosely - and vomits them out into the world.
But instead of general busyness of life stopping me, it’s always been having an insufficiently convincing answer to the “why” of writing that’s put me off.
Why do I write?
Is it vanity? I’d like to think the entitlement a blog post radiates is definitely less intense and pulsating than other kinds of posts, these days mostly social media posts. But I do think it takes a certain kind of vanity to post something out on the internet. Posting, by it’s very nature, says that you think what you have to say is important enough that it’s heard (or here, read) by everyone who’s in your (social) circle, without having a choice.
A dick pic of your thoughts, at internet scale, if you must.
Journalling is having an audience of one (although I have seen brilliant blog posts in the form of a journal entry). Technical writing absolves your voice of vulnerability, allowing you to hide behind the fabric of facts stitched together to tell a story. A blog should allow you to open up a space to explore ideas, with your own voice, with nuance and subtlety.
I’ve recently discovered that I revel in taking a summary survey approach to a topic or trend I’ve collected works about across platforms. I see this pattern of taking a step back and providing a larger picture in the works of Lilian Weng, Ben Thompson (stratechery), Shane Parrish (FarnamStreet) and being enabled by the recently popularized Zettlekasten method of building a mental model of interconnected concepts.
Hopefully I can avoid the trap of insipid takes disguised as clever non-committal quips, passing judgement (at the very least, without a nuanced overview) and resort to just writing for fun, or in the rare case of an artistic piece, for art.
This list of reasons is far from being exhaustive.
Most people don’t write because of one or the other reason. Often, they write due to a combination of reasons.
I’d like to think I write to add value. Or as Paul Graham writes, I write to be useful.