in Thoughts

Stop telling yourself blogging is hard

Got up wicked early, and have been reading the blog feeds. Yes, people other then I – the Great Hermit – still blog. But it’s much fewer than I’d like.

The waters of that kind of self-publishing have receded years ago, so I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know. But I do think we are getting ready for another shift in content creation.

It’s easier than ever to create your own digital space online for almost no money and have it customized exactly how you want, while the anger and frustration at social media keeps raising at a near daily rate. A tipping point is going to happen and it keeps getting closer.

I think there is hope in the space of creating and owning your own content online, so I won’t belabor the point.

What I did want to talk about was how blogging has been connected to my life. I’ve actually been doing it since around 2003, it’s okay as that comes as a shock. My publishing has been erratic at best, but it’s something that I think about a lot and I’ve alway had somewhere to deposit my writing online.

Those blogs fell apart because of two factors: I couldn’t make the sites look and behave exactly the way I wanted, and I put way too much pressure on myself.

So what’s different with this one?

Those other blogs were always on some structured platform. Most of the time it was WordPress or Blogger, but I’ve also used weird stuff like the Deviant Art journal app and MySpace. I’ve always banged against the sides of functionality and actual layout of those platforms. Even WordPress, which is famous for its customizability. I was always either not self-hosting it – therefore, I didn’t have access to plugins – or the customizations that I could get didn’t go far enough to make the thing I had in my head.

With this site, I have access to the entire code base and can change anything I want whenever I want using normal coding tools. And while I don’t know how to make it do everything I want yet, it looks like it’s doable with almost my skill level. (Plus what I want is very simple, which is why you can almost never find a layout that does exactly that. Most people like to show off their design skills. I can’t be bothered.)

As for my second point: I was always trying to write well-formed, crafted articles, and I made online writing seem so much more difficult than it was. With this site it’s much more quick updates and whatever is on my mind at the moment. This takes off so much of the pressure and I can just publish. This means that I can just create a volume of content, and anyone who writes will tell you that’s the trick: write a lot and your thoughts will start to form and reform as you work out concepts. But you have to produce something.

Not everything on here is going to be great. In fact most of it is just going to be updates of interest only to me. But at the end of the day, I will have made a thing and done it consistently. Perfect is the enemy of the good. And before you can get to whatever idea you think perfect is, you have to be just good first. This means the only way to get there is to give up on being perfect and just act.