Why Write

I've had a blog [1] for more than 15 years, and I've found this experience to be generally quite rewarding. I've learned a lot about writing, and enjoyed the opportunity to explore a number of different topics [2] in great detail. While I haven't blogged as much in recent years, I've been thinking in the past few weeks about getting back into writing more regularly, which has lead me to reflect on my writing in the past and my goals for this in the future.

First, the blog as a genre has changed fundamentally in the last 17 or 18 years. In 2000 or 2001, blogs were independent things that grew out of communities (e.g. MetaFilter, or web-diary/journaling) and were maintained by independent writers or small groups. Then the tooling got better, the community got better and eventually started to segment based on topic, and finally the press [3] gained competence in the form.

Publishing a blog today, is a vastly different proposition today even in the recent past.

True to my form, this leaves me with a collection of divergent thoughts:

  • maybe the "write everything in one blog even though the topics are not really of interest to any specific group" approach that I've always taken. More distinct blogs means more writing (maybe a good thing,)
  • having a writing practice is good for focusing thoughts, but also for sharing and distributing understating, and I think that sharing understanding is a really important part of learning and growing, and I miss having a structure for these kinds of notes.
  • perhaps, it would make sense to outsource/hire a freelancer to take care of some editing and marketing-adjacent work, which is more required if you want to engage with users more consistently but that I find distracting and outside of my ability to focus on properly. The problem then is figuring out how to fund that work in a longer-term/sustainable way.
  • In the past RSS has been a (the?) leading way to distribute content to serious readers, but that isn't true now and likly hasn't been true for years. So while I feel able to write a lot of things, I don't know what the best way to engage with regular readers is
  • I used to think that I wanted to organize group blogs, and while I think that blog-discussions are fun, and I think there is merit to combined efforts, I'm less interested in doing the organizing myself.
  • There was a period where I wasn't blogging much because my day job was very writing focused, and I needed side projects that didn't involve the English language, and I spent a long time focusing on learning programming, which took a lot of time. Now that work mostly involves programming, and only a little writing, and I've had some time to recover as a writer, it feels like I have some space.
  • I'm not really sure how to host a blog in 2018. The old set up and server I have is more than functional, but there are a lot of services, tools, and patterns that I'm not familiar with and I have some learning to do, even though I probably mostly just want to write things.
[1]In one form or another, though the archives are all here.
[2]I've written blogs about Philosophy, Hand Knitting, Technology, Documentation, Programming, Science Fiction, Folk Music and Dance, and Economics.
[3]Both old media institutions (news papers, television companies, book and magazine publishers) and new institutions that grew out of blogging itself (e.g. HuffPo, Gawker, etc.)
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